Monday, January 17, 2005

Immaturity Worldwide

More and more I am becoming aware of one thing that all countries seem to have in common, and it is really sad, a proliferation of immature people, who mistake themselves for intellectuals, thinking they have the need and obligation to comment on anything and everything. They do so in blogs, newspapers, chat rooms, etc. And their comments are usually rants full of insults, demeaning remarks and such which clearly demonstrate not only their own immaturity but their ignorance of the topics under discussion. From foreigners, these rants are often anti-Americans in general. From Liberals, they are anti-conservative. From conservative, anti-Liberal. No one among them wants to look hard at themselves and the world around them and see that we all really have much more in common than different these days. No one among them wants to build on that foundation to build a better world. No, that would actually require intellectual thought and hard work, something they avoid like the plague. It is more fun to just hurl insult after insulting, wasting whatever mental capacity they have, to come up with what they think are clever plays on words or new ways of saying the same old insults.

Think I am being harsh? I know, Christians are supposed to have the love of God for everyone. But even Jesus got angry in the temple at ignorant people who were abusing God's house solely to benefit themselves. I get annoyed by ignorant people who abuse the gift of breath and a brain to be generally unpleasant and attempt over and over again to prove their superiority over everyone else. It never works. They always show how ignorant they really are. But they are the only ones who don't see it, them and others like them. And so the rest of us are stuck wading through this garbage to find the gold or the nuggets of truth and real information we can learn and grow from. I guess, what I am ranting about really, is the large number of aimless people who just aren't doing anything with themselves to make a difference in anything they complain about.

I know life is busy. I work two jobs, 55 hours a week, neither of which I am all that passionate about, to pay for student loans for a degree neither requires me to use, but which keep me from pursuing my real passion -- full time missionary work. I make sacrifices of my time, money and energy to find every opportunity to use my gifts and indulge my passion and help people. I guess I work too hard for those other people. But I feel like we can complain until we are blue in the face, but if nobody ever stops complaining and starts working, what will ever get done?

Anyway, that's one reason I started this blog. And now I started a CULTURE CLASHING community in Orkut to help further the dialog, get stories to tell here, let people know what I am doing, and above all, learn from other people. I want to be culturally sensitive. I want to have as broad of a cultural awareness as I possibly can. I want to be culturally educated. And I need other people's perspectives to accomplish it. So far, no one reading this blog has taken me up on it, but I challenge you this year -- put your experiences to good use and post them here in comments, in your own blog (but be sure and let me know about it so I can read and learn from it), or -- for my friends on Orkut -- please feel free to post them in the CULTURE CLASHING community there.

Let's be honest, we all have experiences where despite our best intentions we end up having misunderstandings with others. Usually these are the results of different world views, coming together. Sometimes, they are the result of our own or others' misinterpretations of what we or others say and do. Sometimes they are just what happens when two different people try and come together. It's okay to be frustrated. It's okay to be sad that they happened. It's okay to be embarrassed, but I think it's important to also let others benefit from the wisdom of your experience, so, if nothing else, they can learn and grow from your mistakes. If we all can talk about these things, I think people from the Middle East reading what Americans say here, might actually come to understand us better and be able to respect and relate to us more effectively. And Americans reading what Brazilians say here can actually learn to respect and relate more effectively to Brazilians. Etc, etc. That's my goal for this blog and the Orkut community. I can't succeed without your help. So welcome aboard, and please, let me know you're out there! It'll only make this better and more helpful to all of us!

Don't worry, if you want to remain anonymous, I will let you. Please don't let that keep you from sharing your wisdom. I, for one, want you to help me grow. Happy blogging!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Feliz Ano Novo!

Happy New Year! Well, I have not even visited for a while. So I guess I am behind, but what a crazy two weeks, I have had! I hope all are well and wish you the best success in 2005!

I will have a new experience this year visiting Italy for the first of two trips in November to teach at two conferences, one in Milan, the other in Sicily. It should be an interesting time. Will be hosted by and staying with, in between, my friends Joel and Jessica Rinn in Ferrara, Italy. I hope to get their thoughts on culture sometime featured here. But it will be my first chance to teach in Europe, my first visit to Italy, and my first time in Italy other than airport connections in 20 years! So, I am looking forward to it! I also am actively searching for a job that can pay enough for me to continue paying off my student loans while living and working elsewhere. Brazil has been my main focus, but I would be open to other possibilities if they arose.

For me, who writes about and thinks about crosscultural life, and who interacts crossculturally on a regular basis both online and in daily life, to finally live full time in another culture is a learning experience I have long awaited. Think how much richer this blog will be! Plus, I really feel I will grow in my ability to function crossculturally, as well as my understanding. And this will prepare me for the future I desire and missionary and researcher. So we will see what happens. I have already had one woman who owns an English school in Brazil respond to my mention of it in my profile. So we will see where that leads.

Anyway, I will write again soon about something more on topic. But for now, Happy New Year and may God richly bless you in the days and weeks to come!