Living Here

“Water is life. Save water, save life.”

Tomorrow is “Save the Water” Day.  I bring Maggie home from school and roll my eyes at the comunicado (the word here for “memo”) that says I need to buy half of a poster board and create a slogan for a mock riot parade about taking care of the water.  (Yes, they teach them young here.  You never know when a good reason to riot will arise.)  Frustration with the culture.

“What water?!?” I think to myself.  Ever since the major flooding they have turned our water off for the whole day or part of the day.  Yesterday was actually the first full day of water, but they turned our electricity off 3 different times.  We can't win.  “Save the Water we WISH we had!” is the slogan I want to use.  I'll refrain.  The water was off again when we woke up this morning… but we had lights.  Frustration with the culture.

I help Mags with homework, and I notice that her teacher has written me a note about completing homework better.  My three-year-old has homework everyday.  Instead of something easy like coloring, they always want her to use some specially colored tissue paper to roll up in little balls and glue to the paper.  Do I have colored tissue paper laying around my house?  The answer is no.  Do I have time to go to the store while keeping 3 kids in the house?  No again.  I write a note in my elementary Spanish explaining that I spent more than 800 soles on school stuff this year, and if I am supposed to have a separate list in my house she should have provided it.  I have no idea how that will come across… coming from an elementary Spanish speaker.  Frustration with the culture.

I help Maggie with her homework, fix her a plate for lunch, and excuse myself from the house to walk up to the bodega (a small convenience store) to ask about the poster board.  It only costs 50 centimos for a whole sheet, and the owner (my neighbor and friend) explains a word on the memo that I didn't understand.  So thankful for knowing the “hood” and having neighbors to help me in a culture I sometimes don't understand…

I return home and make the poster for Maggie to carry the next day.  We go over to “the other side” (a room we rent from our close neighbors, Anita and Nadia, where the printer is kept).  While I am printing off the pages I hear Maggie performing her songs from school (all in Spanish) and Anita and Nadia celebrating and applauding her show with “Bravo.”  So thankful for Peruvians that love and encourage my kids…

I come out and ask if Maggie is being a bother.  They say she is fine so I return to the printer to finish.  By the time I am done and come out, Maggie has found her place at their table eating a pancito and waiting for her tecito (bread and hot tea).  I roll my eyes at her as they laugh.  It's obvious that “tu casa es su casa” (your house is her house), I say to Anita.  She giggles.  So thankful for dear friends and trusted neighbors…

I return to the side of the house where Greg and Cohen are to finish the poster for water day.  “Ahhhh!” I suddenly exclaim.  It is 2:35, and I have forgotten about watching the time to pick up Ana.  “Oh, wait.  I am fine.  I just heard the bell ring.”  Greg laughs at me.  So thankful for a school so close to our home that I can hear the bell inside my living room…

I go and pick Ana up from school.  She says she has had a good day.  I check on Maggie on my way into the house.  She is still chatting away with her “amigas” over tea and bread.  Ana changes her clothes and reads a letter addressed to her out-loud (she has been practicing her English reading).  It is from her Great-Granddad, and she is thrilled.  So thankful for family from afar that my kids treasure and that take the time to send a letter in the mail for a 6-year-old's birthday…

DSC09488

DSC09489

Ana changes her clothes and disappears.  Her sandwich is waiting for her.  Where is she?  I go out the front door and look into Anita and Nadia's patio area.  There she is with Maggie.  So thankful.

When the day is done, and I reflect on our life here, I can choose to dwell on the frustrations or the things that make me thankful.  Today's “thankful” list far outweighs my “frustrations” list.  Sometimes that isn't the case, but I choose my attitude.  I confess that I choose to not have the attitude of Christ many days or in many situations, but I do know that I love our life here.  And for that, I am so thankful.

zp8497586rq
Advertisements
Living Here

McKinzie Pizza Night

 

golden and bubbly on the top + thin and crispy on the bottom = perfect pizza
golden and bubbly on the top + thin and crispy on the bottom = perfect pizza

It is official.  Saturday is McKinzie Pizza night (or day).  We are in love.  We have tried for a weekly pizza night for awhile.  We would get on a kick, and then we wouldn’t be on the kick.  Then… Jeremy and Katie Daggett came to live with us this past January.  I wrote and asked permission to post their recipe.  What I love is that it is simple to put together and has a super crazy short rise time.  We are HUGE fans of THIN CRUST.  If you are a thin crust fan, this might just be the pizza crust recipe for you…

First, let me introduce you to our professors from El Instituto de Pizza Making in Arequipa, Jeremy and Katie:

Jeremy, the TCK from Italy.  The dough roller.
Jeremy: the TCK from Italy. The dough roller, topping adder, baker.
Katie, the dough mixer, topping dicer, and cheese grater
Katie: the dough mixer, topping dicer, and cheese grater

Jeremy and Katie taught us their ways, and we are forever indebted to them.  They are possibly considering a pizza place in Arequipa when they move here next year.  They can count on my business!

So Pizza is really three parts: the crust, the sauce, the toppings.  Here we go…

Daggett Pizza Thin Crust Recipe (makes 3-4 pizzas)

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups flour

Mix all. Form one giant dough ball.  Coat with olive oil.  Leave in warm place to rise for 45 minutes (or less if you don’t have the 45 minutes).

After rising, separate dough into four equal parts.  Roll each dough ball into the shape of pan.  (We have 1 round pan and two cookie sheets.  I have mastered turning this recipe into 4 crusts.  They end of super thin which means super delicious.)

 

Next, the sauce.  I love a good marinara sauce, and I found a good recipe where I blended various ingredients and then allowed them to simmer on the stove, but this sauce is way easier and tastes just fine for our thin crust.

Daggett Pizza Sauce

  • 2 packages or one jar of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 Tbs (more or less) dried oregano

Mix in a small bowl.  Spoon a thin layer over each unbaked crust.  Delish.

 

Now for the toppings.  Everyone has their favorites, but this is what our family highly recommends:

  • fresh chopped basil
  • thinly sliced Roma tomatoes
  • fresh chopped spinach
  • chopped artichoke hearts
  • pepperoni
  • ham
  • sliced, pickled jalapeños (Greg only)
  • 1/3 of a large block of shredded mozzarella cheese (for four pizzas)

We love this pizza.  I bake our pizzas, knowing that all ovens are different, in a gas oven at 255 degrees Celcius for 20 minutes.  It is even more delicious reheated in a toaster over–gives it that extra crispy crunch.  We make it on Saturdays, and always have enough left-overs for Sunday night (a night that I never want to cook).

Tips I picked up from the Daggetts

  • ham actually tastes decent on pizza and it is the cheaper option
  • scissors are the greatest for cutting up a pizza
  • fresh basil and fresh tomato slices will rock your face off when it comes to thin crust pizza
  • this dough recipe can also be used to make Focaccia bread.  Spread the entire dough ball evenly in a cookie sheet, brush olive oil over the surface, sprinkle salt and dried rosemary over the top.  Bake for 20 minutes.  It goes great with Italian dishes.
  • Artichokes really compliment the fresh basil and tomatoes on the pizza.
  • Don’t worry with making your crusts perfectly cover the surface of the pan.  Rustic looking pizza tastes better.  🙂
McKinzie Pizza Night

AG—6 years old

She picked out her special dress to wear for her
She picked out her special dress to wear for her “party.”

This year Ana requested a slumber party with her two friends, Shaye and Baylee (her swim class amigas).  Baylee was unable to come, but Shaye is here.  They have had a wonderful time this evening.  I cannot believe how much these girls have grown.  I am typing while they watch the movie.

cheapest decorations ever!
cheapest decorations ever!
best friends.  Ana hasn't known a day of life without this girl.
best friends. Ana hasn’t known a day of life without this girl.
little sister always thinks she is one of the
little sister always thinks she is one of the “big girls”
personal pan pizzas
personal pan pizzas
Salud! (Cheers)
Salud! (Cheers)
cupcakes and milkshakes were served after the pizza
cupcakes and milkshakes were served after the pizza

They are currently watching _Mulan_ (Ana’s choice).  Blueberry pancakes are on the menu for breakfast.  My girl knows how to pick a delicious birthday menu!

zp8497586rq
AG—6 years old

Farewell Rand

 The Wheel of Time has been 11,916 pages over the course of half of my life. There aren’t many things that can make me feel like this story has. I don’t often feel as sad as I do now that I’ve read the last words of the last chapter. Not brutally sad as merit death or disease. Sad like the memories of a childhood friend—a true friend who is now a different person in a different life. Sad like the ache for a beautiful place that you know you’ll never see again.

I’m not trying to be melodramatic, and I’m not trying to talk about an epic fantasy series like it’s a great work of literature. I can be a snob about quality when the moment is right. The present moment, though, is about the conclusion of a journey that has been a beloved part of many, many moments of my life. For sci-fi/fantasy readers, there isn’t much to explain, even if you’re not a Wheel of Time fan. So I suppose I’m writing with others in mind, who might not get what it’s about. C. S. Lewis wrote about it in his little introduction to George McDonald’s Phantastes:

Most myths were made in prehistoric times, and, I suppose, not consciously made by individuals at all. But every now and then there occurs in the modern world a genius—a Kafka or a Novalis—who can make such a story. MacDonald is the greatest genius of this kind whom I know. But I do not know how to classify such genius. To call it literary genius seems unsatisfactory since it can co-exist with great inferiority in the art of words—nay, since its connection with words at all turns out to be merely external and, in a sense, accidental. Nor can it be fitted into any of the other arts. It begins to look as if there were an art, or a gift, which criticism has largely ignored. It may even be one of the greatest arts; for it produces works which give us (at the first meeting) as much delight and (on prolonged acquaintance) as much wisdom and strength as the works of the greatest poets. It is in some ways more akin to music than to poetry or at least to most poetry. It goes beyond the expression of things we have already felt. It arouses in us sensations we have never had before, never anticipated having, as though we had broken out of our normal mode of consciousness and ‘possessed joys not promised to our birth.’ It gets under our skin, hits us at a level deeper than our thoughts or even our passions, troubles oldest certainties till all questions are reopened, and in general shocks us more fully awake than we are for most of our lives. (MacDonald, George (1981-05-18). Phantastes (Kindle Locations 108-118))

This is the genius of fantasy—to break out of that normal mode of consciousness into a world of delight and unexpected joys, to somehow get in touch with another part of life that is inexplicably out of reach otherwise. With his typically uncanny grasp of truth, Lewis goes on to make an extraordinary claim about “mythopoetic” (fantasy) literature such as McDonald’s:

There was no question of getting through to the kernel and throwing away the shell: no question of a gilded pill. The pill was gold all through. The quality which had enchanted me in his imaginative works turned out to be the quality of the real universe, the divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic reality in which we all live. I should have been shocked in my ‘teens if anyone had told me that what I learned to love in Phantastes was goodness. But now that I know, I see there was no deception. The deception is all the other way round—in that prosaic moralism which confines goodness to the region of Law and Duty, which never lets us feel in our face the sweet air blowing from ‘the land of righteousness,’ never reveals that elusive Form which if once seen must inevitably be desired with all but sensuous desire—the thing (in Sappho’s phrase) ‘more gold than gold.’ (MacDonald, George (1981-05-18). Phantastes (Kindle Locations 133-139))

It is the thing itself, the unfolding, the journey through that strange land—not some particular abstract principle or truth behind the prose—that makes it so enchanting, even revelatory. But it is especially the kind of world that, for whatever reason—no doubt due in great measure to McDonald and Lewis and Tolkien—became the enduring aesthetic of modern fantasy. As Lewis notes, that aesthetic is basically Romanticism, but it has a different quality than that in which he “had already been waist deep . . . ; and likely enough, at any moment, to flounder into its darker and more evil forms, slithering down the steep descent that leads from the love of strangeness to that of eccentricity and thence to that of perversity” (MacDonald, George (1981-05-18). Phantastes (Kindle Locations 123-125)).

This reminds me very much of the loss I feel with the end of the Wheel of Time. Currently, I very much enjoy the darker, grittier sub-genre of fantasy that is becoming, more and more, the industry norm. But it is a drastic contrast with the innocence of Robert Jordan’s world, and fantasy after Lewis and Tolkien, in the peculiar mold they cast, was about the reduction of life to the clarity for which we so often long: light and dark, love and hate, valor and cowardice, right and wrong. Not that they wrote out moral complexity, but they did put swords in the hands of heroes of pure heart so they could cut down evil where it stood. The romantic in the core of my being will never be finished listening for that story.

The Wheel of Time holds a special place in my heart, though, because it is a coming of age story that unfolded as I was coming of age. It’s a story about young friends—confronted with a world that is suddenly far darker and more threatening than they imagined, called reluctantly to hold fast to their goodness while doing what they must to survive and to fight, always bewildered by the opposite sex in the process, faithful in friendship unto death—who eventually become the men and women they needed to be. There will be other stories, but I have the sinking feeling that few will ever match the breadth and depth of simple pleasure I found over these last fifteen years as Jordan’s characters grew into humble, fretful, loving heroes.

Lewis said it best:

“I side impenitently with the human race against the modern reformer. Let there be wicked kings and beheadings, battles and dungeons, giants and dragons, and let the villains be soundly killed at the end of the book.” (On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature)

Tai’shar Manetheren.

Farewell Rand

February 2013

What a month. Here are some highlights to remember in pictures:

1. Haircuts

she requested “a short hair cut for swim lessons”
Daddy officially takes little man since it is still a major fight when he goes

2. the end of Jeremy and Katie’s stay with us was the beginning of the month/they switched over to the Smith casa

My kids love visitors, and Jeremy and Katie were no exception.

3. Our house church multiplied. At times we had 20+ people sitting around our big dining room table. Alfredo and Judith (with their 2 little boys), Roberto and Silvia (with Gabriel and Briana almost here), and Emilia are now meeting over on the side of town where they all live. We did have a big group of little kids for house church, and now it is down to just mine again.

Our last Sunday school lesson with Gabriel present.

4. Swim lessons. I paid for both Ana and Maggie to take a month’s worth of swim lessons being offered in ASA at the big indoor pool. Maggie ended up not being ready. But Ana ended up having a blast with her two amigas, Baylee and Shaye. She went from swimming laps with 2 floaties on her back to no floaties. I’d say that is majoy improvement! I enjoyed the visiting time I got in with Jenna and Larissa.

ready to go the first day (I think they look like cafeteria workers myself, but these caps are required and they only cost 1 sol 50 each!)
Ana loved hanging out with Baylee and Shaye at swim lessons.
love her form here!
weaned from two floaties (on the back) to one
last day with no floaties!

5. Reading. We have picked up the pace on homeschooling in English. Ana did a lot of work in February with sight words. She will be attending an all-Spanish speaking school, but I will be supplementing at home with reading and writing English practice.

reading Dr. Seuss to Mags

6. Worst flooding in Arequipa history. (so they say) One evening, the sky opened up and it rained a solid 5 hours of heavy rain. It would have been nothing unusual for a TN summer day, but this city just isn’t constructed to hold together against so much rain. Many of the little pueblo jovens were hit hardest because the rain entered their homes and damaged everything. People had their mattresses laying on top of their houses to dry. On of the major avenues (right down from Kyle and Larissa’s home) caved into the large ditch built for extra water flow. Underpasses were flooded with floating combis. It was crazy.

The aftermath, it is now March and they are still cutting the water off in our community every morning. The whole city isn’t this way, but we must live close to something they are constantly monitoring during the rainy season. I have never been so on top of laundry and washing dishes!

the neighbors below us flooded. Thankfully we sit one story above all of this.
But the Volcano sure is beautiful during the rainy season when the sky clears up in the morning. What is rain to us was snow on her peak.
the community going to get water at the truck tanks the city provided
no water = lots of dirty dishes

7. Valentine’s Day. Sugar cookies with icing were a big hit with the Peruvians that tasted them so I was commissioned to make them as a V-day special this month. I made them 3 different times (that is about 66 cookies that I sold through the cafe). And I thought Emilia did a great job bagging them up.

Greg and I ended up going out with Jeremy and Katie on Valentines night. We ate at an Italian pizza place, headed over to the cafe for the brownie and ice cream special (which has remained a hit ever since), and played Spades for the last time with them. It was an enjoyable evening.

I did lots of baking and icing this month
Emilia with the finished product. I thought they turned out really cute.

8. a run for the border. I am so pleased to say that this is behind us. I am actually working on a separarte post for this, but in a nutshell, Greg and I are legal now. Praise God!

driving out of Arequipa.

9. Bible studies. I met with a group of 12 year-olds this summer (Isa’s friends) every Wednesday afternoon at the cafe. We read through the book of Mark (we got to Chapter 6!). I really enjoyed this time. I wanted to provide a Bible study for Isabel and others her age since she is kind of the loan youth in our house church network. It was really enjoyable. School starts next week, and the girls are going to decided if their is a day that would work to continue the study during the school year. We shall see, but I thoroughly enjoyed working with this age group that I love so much.

wrapping up a girls BIble study with Isa and her friends at the cafe

Also, Areli and I finished the book of Mark. We had another study after finishing Mark, and she told me that she is ready to be baptized. Praise God! I love this girl. She is such a special friend to me here, and I am elated that we will share our friendship in Christ now.

Katie, me and Areli celebrating my birthday back in January

10. Library work. We are trying to get all of our ducks in a row for the library program. What is exciting is that Alfredo scored us a meeting with the ministry of education. We met twice in February, and we will be meeting the first week of March to sign a contract with the ministry (in order to have their support in offering teachers staff development hours). This is all really exciting. Also, we are actually working on library spaces in both schools. I wish I could take a before and after picture. They are not complete but are in progress. We hope for the library program to be going full-force in the schools by the first week of April.

behind this wall is the education headquarters for the Arequipa region

11. Jeremy and Katie’s last day. We sure enjoyed having the Daggetts here for a long visit. We are super excited about TA 2.0 coming in 2014. The time will fly, and I am sure we will see them this fall sometime.

one last picture (Cohen was asleep)

12. Missio Dei 4.1 February has been crunch time for the February edition of Greg’s semiannual mission journal. I am always so proud of him, and I know the hard work he and so many others put into this journal to make it what it is. Click on the caption to get to the online journal.

the February edition
taking a break for some Cohen cuddles
zp8497586rq
February 2013

Considering Culture

When I was taking a missions class at Harding, I remember Monte Cox drilling into us a teaching from Paul Hiebert.  The idea is that it is easier to bring the gospel as a potted plant from one culture to another than to bring the gospel as a seed, plant it in the new culture, and allow it to take root in that culture.  I have learned so much about cultural differences during my time in Peru.  Many days, those cultural differences cause me to really dislike this culture.  I want to throw my hands up and shout, “Why can't you get this right like MY culture!?”  I realize that statement makes me totally ethnocentric.  But over time, as I have grown accustomed to many of the cultural differences and better understand the reasons behind some of these differences, I have a greater appreciation for where these people come from.

Teaching the gospel message to people in a different culture has taught me so much about the gospel message.  Does that make sense?  There are so many unspoken rules from the church culture I was raised in, and living here in Peru has caused me to question many of those unspoken rules.  Does an unspoken rule line up with the original gospel message, or is it influenced by the culture?

This post is not about answers.  This post is something that I have been thinking about for awhile and need to type out.  I have struggled a lot with what matters.  But one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that my perspective on someone else's life matters a great deal. If I do not understand their culture or background, I need to back up and try to understand.  I cannot dismiss the actions of someone just because they don't live or make decisions as someone from my particular background.  So much of grace is understanding that we are all influenced by different factors, and if I take relationship ministry seriously, I will try my best to understand that background.

One example is time.  Punctuality is expected in my home culture.  If a person is repeatedly unpunctual they are thought of as rude.  Greg recorded some results from a survey our interns led last summer (a questionare that many Peruvians answered).  One of the results was very interesting and eye-opening to us.  Our team understands that punctuality is not the Peruvians' strong suit.  And we have all been very frustrated with church members that arrive late, sometimes later than late.  But in this questionare, Peruvians were asked when punctuality matters.  They listed things that are institutional: school, work, etc.  But if the event is familial, punctuality doesn't matter.  We have tried very hard to make the time the church spends together as familial.  So after examining these results, we find it flattering that so many are not punctual.  They don't see it as something they HAVE to show up to.  They see it as meeting with family and as something they WANT to do.  That is a blessing to see, but only after diagnosing something very different in their culture that at first was so easily dismissed in these North American eyes as rude.

I was not planning on writing a super long post on missional context and the like.  I was actually on a crowded public bus today reflecting on how much I have learned about people here and realizing that people all come from different stories.  So many times I am impatient with someone and their actions, but if I take the time to understand where they are coming from, I am not so impatient anymore.

A lesson I learned while teaching at a Title 1 middle school in Marion, AR from a Ruby Payne motivational speaker:  teachers can assign lots of homework and lots of extra reading for their students, but just realize that some kids come from very poor homes.  The only light that their parent(s) will turn on at night is the light from the television.  How well would you read in front of that?

A lesson that I learned from a student in my first year of teaching (I will refer to this student by a different name, Hope):

My team of teachers were all meeting to discuss any problems we had  with discipline or particular students.  Every teacher had an issue with Hope.  She was sleeping in everyone's class.  The team of teachers was ready to take a strong disciplinary action against Hope.  I spoke up in the meeting and said that I would really like to talk to Hope one-on-one before we did anything.  After class the next day, I asked Hope to stay behind so that we could talk.  I asked her directly why she was sleeping in her classes every day.  She apologized and went into a story I will never forget.  “Mrs. McKinzie, I have to stay up and feed my twin babies.”  She went on to paint a picture that no 13-year-old should ever have to paint.  Hope and her sister and two infant twins were basically on their own.  Their mother received food stamps but would sell them in order to get money for drugs for herself and their step father.  I asked Hope what they fed the babies if there were no groceries in the home.  “Sometimes there is a little bit of sugar, and I can mix it with some water and make sugar water.”  This story absolutely broke my heart.  My first thought was that Hope could sleep in my class anytime she needed.  She was helping to take care of twin infants through the night, and no wonder they were crying!  Hope's story does not end well.  I ended up having to report her situation to Family Services and later we learned that the step father was molesting the girls.  But that made me think twice about immediately getting on a student's case for sleeping through class.  I needed to understand where she was coming from.  Hope and I lived in the same “culture,” and yet her home culture was so different than what I came from.

In my last four years in Peru, here are some examples of situations that have caused me to shift my perspective on judging someone's situation:

  • The young Christian woman that accepts Christ and never attends the meetings.  But then I learn… She has no support from her male chauvinist husband.  She wants to attend the Sunday meeting that takes place during lunch (the most important meal of the day and when our home church decides to meet), but she is expected to cook the meal for her husband and serve him.  How do you get her to participate in the Sunday meeting with the church?
  • The woman that is single and doesn't seem to be dedicated enough to attend our church meetings on Sunday.  But then I learn…  Her husband ran off with another woman and left her with 3 children to care for.  She works Monday-Saturday, 7 am to 7 pm.  She takes her 2 year old to work with her every day.  She makes next to nothing.  Sunday is her only day of rest and the only day for housework.  She has to hand wash all the clothes and have time for them to dry before the next day.  Sunday is also her only day to go to the market and buy the items her family needs for the week.  The church meets on Sundays and the meeting is usually 3 hours.  How can this woman be responsible to her family and still be responsible to her spiritual family when they come together and meet?
  • The man that never shows up on time and never calls that he will be late.  I would never understand the public transportation system unless I rode it.  So I learn… Sometimes a person has to change from one bus route to another (with 10 minute waiting times in between).  Sometimes the road work reroutes the buses on extremely long or clogged routes making the time double what it would have been.  Normally, a route may take 1/2 an hour.  On top of all of that, the man can never afford to keep minutes on his phone so he can't call.  How can you reprimand someone like that for being late?
  • The church members that seem to disappear from our meetings February-March.  And then I live here awhile… February-March is the heaviest time of the rainy season.  Many of the houses in this desert city are poorly constructed to hold up against heavy rains.  When a heavy storm comes, a family has to constantly work to sweep the rain away from the doors, empty buckets from leaks, etc.  What would you do if you knew that all of your belongings were getting soaked if you left the house?
I could go on.  So many of these examples are related to church life, but I have found myself backing up and trying to understand people better when engaging with non-Christians open to the message of Christ.  What is the best way to explain “freedom in Christ” to a woman that is “enslaved” by the expectations of her chauvinist husband?  On one hand, how much more liberating is this message!  On the other hand, how do I teach someone to follow after Christ with all of their heart, participating with their spiritual family when they are in a situation so different than my own?
Like I said, this isn't a post about answers.  I have arrived at some conclusions in many things, but what this thought process has done to me is to humble me.  A teaching on church life that I know transcends any and every culture comes from Jesus's conversation with his disciples (John 13:34-35).

A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

zp8497586rq
Considering Culture