CULTURES & A List of Cultures

by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 9/30/15.

(Excerpted with permission from The Healthy Church: Practical Ways to Strengthen a Church’s Heart, Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2013)

Below are examples of groups that have been identified as justifiable cultures:

Affinity cultures (these are cultures that are based upon a shared fondness or affinity):

  • Motorcycle riders
  • Country music fans
  • The NASCAR nation
  • Heavy metal music fans
  • Contemporary Christian music fans
  • Surfers

Ethnic cultures:

  • Latin American,
  • Hispanic American
  • African American,
  • Asian American
  • Native American, etc..

Socio-economic cultures[i]

  • Upper Socio-economic Level[ii]
  • Upper Middle socio-economic Level[iii]
  • Lower Middle Socio-economic Level[iv]
  • Lower Working Socio-economic Level[v]
  • Lower Socio-economic Level[vi]

Generational cultures:[vii]

  • Builder[viii] (or the Silent[ix] or Greatest[x]) Generation, b. 1945 and before
  • Boomer Generation, b. 1946-1964
  • Leading-edge Generation X, b. 1965-1974
  • Post-modern Generation X, b. 1975-1983
  • Generation Y, b. 1984-2002
  • Generation Z, b. 2003-2021

(For where Gen. Y and the Millennials fit, see my post: GENERATIONS & The Emerging Agreement on Age Ranges.)

Therefore, to help our churches grow in the most ways possible while recognizing the broadest variety of cultures, it is good to speak of multicultural churches. These are churches where people from several cultures (e.g. ethnic, affinity, socio-economic, etc.) learn to work together in one church.

You can read more of this chapter here (remember, if you benefit from this excerpt please consider supporting the publisher and author by purchasing a copy): BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT – HEALTHY CHURCH List of Cultures

[i] Joseph V. Hickey and William E. Thompson, Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology (Boston, Mass.: Allyn & Bacon, 5th ed. 2004).

[ii] They are approximately 1-5% of the No. American population and are characterized by power over economic, business and political organizations and institutions.

[iii] They represent approximately 15% of the North American population and are usually white-collar workers who hold graduate degrees, possessing a significant degree of flexibility and autonomy in their work.

[iv] They are approximately 33% of the North American population and are usually white-collar workers with some college education. Subsequently, they have a degree of flexibility and autonomy at work, though not as much as those of the Upper Middle Socio-economic strata.

[v] They are approximately 30% of the North American population). Both white- and blue-collar workers, their jobs are characterized by minimum job security, inadequate pay and worries about losing health insurance.

[vi] They represent 15% of the North American population and often go through cycles of part-time and full-time jobs. Many times they must work more than one job to provide for their needs.

[vii] For a chart depicting the different age ranges for each generation see Bob Whitesel Preparing the Change Reaction: How to Introduce Change in Your Church (Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2007), p 53.

[viii] Gary McIntosh, One Church, Four Generations: Understanding and Reaching All Ages in Your Church [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2002] and Bob Whitesel and Kent R. Hunter, A House Divided: Bridging the Generation Gaps in Your Church [Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000).

[ix] This generation has been labeled various ways, for instance as the “silent generation” by William Strauss and Neil Howe in Generations: The History of American’s Future, 1954-2069 (New York: Quill, 1992).

[x] They are labeled the “greatest generation” by Tom Brokaw in The Greatest Generation (New York: Random House, 2004).

DIVERSITY & Diagnosing Your Cultural Intelligence

by P. Christopher Earley and Elaine Mosakowski, Harvard Business Review, 10/01/04

… Cultural intelligence is related to emotional intelligence, but it picks up where emotional intelligence leaves off. A person with high emotional intelligence grasps what makes us human and at the same time what makes each of us different from one another. A person with high cultural intelligence can somehow tease out of a person’s or group’s behavior those features that would be true of all people and all groups, those peculiar to this person or this group, and those that are neither universal nor idiosyncratic. The vast realm that lies between those two poles is culture…

One critical element that cultural intelligence and emotional intelligence do share is, in psychologist Daniel Goleman’s words, “a propensity to suspend judgment—to think before acting.” For someone richly endowed with CQ, the suspension might take hours or days, while someone with low CQ might have to take weeks or months. In either case, it involves using your senses to register all the ways that the personalities interacting in front of you are different from those in your home culture yet similar to one another. Only when conduct you have actually observed begins to settle into patterns can you safely begin to anticipate how these people will react in the next situation. The inferences you draw in this manner will be free of the hazards of stereotyping.

The people who are socially the most successful among their peers often have the greatest difficulty making sense of, and then being accepted by, cultural strangers. Those who fully embody the habits and norms of their native culture may be the most alien when they enter a culture not their own. Sometimes, people who are somewhat detached from their own culture can more easily adopt the mores and even the body language of an unfamiliar host. They’re used to being observers and making a conscious effort to fit in…

Attaining a high absolute score is not the objective.

Most managers fit at least one of the following six profiles. By answering the questions in the exhibit, you can decide which one describes you best.

The provincial can be quite effective when working with people of similar background but runs into trouble when venturing farther afield…

The analyst methodically deciphers a foreign culture’s rules and expectations by resorting to a variety of elaborate learning strategies…

The natural relies entirely on his intuition rather than on a systematic learning style…

The ambassador, like many political appointees, may not know much about the culture he has just entered, but he convincingly communicates his certainty that he belongs there…

The mimic has a high degree of control over his actions and behavior, if not a great deal of insight into the significance of the cultural cues he picks up. Mimicry definitely puts hosts and guests at ease, facilitates communication, and builds trust. Mimicry is not, however, the same as pure imitation, which can be interpreted as mocking…

The chameleon possesses high levels of all three CQ components and is a very uncommon managerial type. He or she even may be mistaken for a native of the country. More important, chameleons don’t generate any of the ripples that unassimilated foreigners inevitably do. Some are able to achieve results that natives cannot, due to their insider’s skills and outsider’s perspective. We found that only about 5% of the managers we surveyed belonged in this remarkable category…

Read more at …

MULTICULTURAL & We don’t want ecumenical cooks to throw all cultural traditions … into one bowl & stir them to a hash of indeterminate colour #Quote

We do not want the westernization of the universal Church. On the other hand we don’t want the ecumenical cooks to throw all the cultural traditions on which they can lay their hands into one bowl and stir them to a hash of indeterminate colour. – John V. Taylor, statesman, Africanist and Bishop of Winchester.

Quote by John V. Taylor, “Cultural Ecumenism,” Church Missionary Society Newsletter, Nov. 1974, p. 3, see also John V. Taylor, The Theological Basis of Interfaith Dialogue, in Faith Meets Faith, ed. Gerald M. Anderson and Thomas F. Stansky, Mission Trends, no. 5 (New York: Paulist Press, 1981), pp. 93ff.