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Carrying Culture Too Far

Today I met a lovely postdoc who is an international Fulbright scholar at a major university. She is working with a professor who happens to originally hail from her native country. There is a surprising bit of friction because the professor apparently perceives her as competition rather than a colleague. While this occurs sometimes in the US, it is fairly rare, but in this woman’s country it is fairly common. So there is no shortage in irony in this situation.

One of the things I love about universities is how cosmopolitan they truly are:  folks from the globe over coming together in scholarly pursuits, sharing and studying a world of knowledge and culture, ideally in harmony. All cultures have their weak spots as they are composed of fallen human beings, but it is still a shame when those weaknesses survive the transfer to a new environment, even though it should be expected.

When these rough spots arise, ideally the egalitarian environment of the university helps resolve them. This should be the hallmark of the Church, yet universities are more known for ‘inclusiveness’ and Christians known for ‘divisiveness.’ Both are stereotypes in every sense of the word. As Christian faculty, we have the opportunity to be peacemakers in both cultures, and from there affect many more.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9


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