Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dave Gibbons Blog Tour

I had a wonderful opportunity to ask a question of Dave Gibbons, regarding his ministry and his new book. Here is what he had to say:

Jason: In many cultures, or other nations, religion is an essential fundamental to their lives and life style, even at the risk of possible death or imprisonment. For most of us in America, we have come to treat religion as another hobby as it "fits into our schedule". What can we learn and apply from other cultures that will help us to bring American Christians into a deeper and more serious relationship with God?

Dave: Great question, Jason. There are multiple global characteristics or habits outside the common practice of Americans that will help in their walk with God. Here are a few:

  1. The Art of Listening- In America, there is great attention to the word whereas, in the world there is much more emphasis on nuance, body language, and non-directive language especially as it relates to communication. Because of this one has to be alert to hidden meanings, physical cues, and the unspoken. This is helpful for us in the west because we miss out so much when it comes to listening to God. Often it’s not simply the exegesis of the word that is as significant as the application of an idea. Jesus’ use of parables was beautiful as the truths were not immediately apparent but allowed for self or corporate discovery. It requires one to pay attention and to more deeply understand.

  2. Loyalty- In the west, we value honesty at the top of our values list. Hence, truth is important. In the east, there is high loyalty to friends and family. There is shame if you turn your back on your loved ones. In the east, relationships are like fast food. They satisfy us for the moment and we go on to the next relationship. In the east, loyalty is often valued more than one’s own happiness.

  3. Sacred Space- Americans like things big! Our houses, our meals, our cars and even our churches. Big is great but we can learn from the world the value of space and the small. Many families in the world live in one room and in much smaller spaces. How could we be better stewards if we downsized our voracious appetites?

  4. The DNA of Community- We tend to be more individualistic in the west no matter how much we talk about community. At the end of the day, it’s about me. Individualism has it’s strengths when it comes to pioneering and some forms of innovation but to learn about commitment, sacrifice and trust the world has a lot to teach us. In Asia, if one fails, they feel they have not only shamed themselves, but their family, their relatives, and even their country. They understand the ripple effects of actions or words.

  5. Embrace of Mystery- We typically love clear answers. We almost vomit truth to the point we speak truth but not in love. Scott Peck speaks of relationships that are deep have an embrace of mystery. Many cultures around the world naturally embrace mystery and in so doing, are able to have healthier relationships both with each other and God.

Dave, Thank you for taking a moment to answer my question. I look forward to reading your book. For those of you who would like to read a bit more about the book can read a sample chapter here.

Read more questions from Dave's blog tour here.

You can learn more about Dave by visiting his website at or you can order his book, The Monkey and the Fish.


Dan King said...

Wow.... I love Dave's response about downsizing our appetites! that is a powerful concept that forces us to think about how we can be good stewards of what we have in order to have a bigger impact on the world.

Jason Hicks said...

I agree Dan. It was a pleasure to hear from Dave, but I must admit this small part of his answer had the biggest punch for me!

Jon Nichols said...

Great question, Jason and yes, I think that part of Dave's answer smacks our "Americanized Religion" in the face! I think this is one of the biggest benefits of a short-term mission trip--it gives us a chance to realize that what we see as "needs" are mostly just what we've come to feel entitled to have.