What your pastor REALLY thinks of your blackberry

What your pastor REALLY thinks of your blackberry

I’ve noticed that more and more people are using cell phone technology in more places, and I’ve begun to deal with it in the classroom setting as well. It’s not uncommon for one of my students to check their cell phone for messages during class.

I’ll have to admit, sometimes it irritates me, although it doesn’t phase them. A recent survey says that baby boomers and Gen Y see the use of cell phones during meetings in different ways. I would have to agree.

Even 57 percent of Gen Y respondents think that it is “impolite” (compared to 67 percent of Baby Boomers). But the Gen Y workers surveyed can deal with it better. Only 49 percent find such behavior “distracting,” while 68 percent of Baby Boomers did. And so it goes, younger workers also tend to find such multi-tasking during meetings more productive (Gen Y: 35% versus Boomers: 20%) and efficient (Gen Y: 35%; Boomers: 17%). While Gen Xers find them to be the most unavoidable (29% versus 21% for Gen Y and 17% for Boomers).

When I whip out my iPhone during a meeting (or church service – which I’ve been known to do), I should probably consider who is with me in the meeting. If I’m with a group of my students, they won’t see it as distracting (49%) as my baby boomer friends do (68%)

So think twice the next time you’re in a meeting and you get buzzed by your phone. Will you take it out or not?

See the whole survey here: Survey Says Baby Boomers Think Playing With Your Blackberry During A Meeting Is Rude

(Image by: Marvin Kuo on flickr)

Easter in Mexico

Easter in Mexico

Many Christians bemoan the cultural expressions of Christianity, or the cultural alternatives to Christian holidays. The Easter bunny takes center stage, and the passion and resurrection of Jesus is sometimes seen as an afterthought.

Easter bonnets, new dresses, a ham feast with family, and other things are all part of our cultural heritage. They were all part of how I grew to celebrate Easter as a child (within the context of a Christian family). Living in Mexico has allowed me to see a little of how another culture has shaped the holiday.

In Mexico, there is no Easter bunny. Easter candy has been creeping onto shelves, but is for the most part uncommon. I often am questioned about the origin of Easter eggs and the Easter bunny. In our experience, the cultural celebration of Easter has taken a very traditional religious form.

Good Friday is celebrated much more than Resurrection Sunday. As I blogged about before, Mexico is the home to the largest passion play in the world. Even the evangelical churches have little celebration on Sunday, opting instead for special Good Friday services where the topic of the sermon is almost always the last words of Christ on the cross.

The Baptist Church we attend had a sunrise service Sunday at 6 am, but the other services were “normal.” If you don’t attend the sunrise service, there is very little mention of the fact that it is even Resurrection Sunday. There is no sign of “dressing up”; no little girls in Easter bonnets or new frilly Easter dresses. Easter Sunday is just another day, while Good Friday is the cause of religious celebration.

This is the cultural expression of the holiday that we have here in Mexico. While it doesn’t take the form of bunnies and candy, it does affect the worldview of the people to whom we (and our students) are ministering.

We hope you had a great Easter season. We hope that you can live everyday celebrating the triumph of Christ over the grave. We hope that the celebration of Resurrection Sunday will continue to be a daily reality in your life.

Check out Janell’s thoughts on Easter in Mexico here (Our Easter Plans).

(Image by: JolieNY on flickr)

Social Media and Missionaries

I saw this on twitter the other day, and it made me think about the use of social media in missions.

My job as a missionary has many different aspects. I spend most of my time training youth workers (both formally and informally). I spend a little of my time working with young people (not as much as I used to). I also try to inspire people to be involved in missions.

Some parts of what I do are easier to talk about on social media than to actually do, especially given the culture in which I work.

Right now, for example, twitter in Mexico isn’t very popular. Facebook is coming of age in Mexico. But it would be weird for me to try to convince people here to use twitter so that I could connect with them and train youth workers through twitter. Could I do it? Probably. Would it be very effective? Right now, probably not. (Maybe in the future).

The part of my job that has to do with inspiring people (mostly in the United States) to be involved in missions (either by financially supporting, praying for, or considering going to serve in a foreign culture, among other things), is a little easier to do using social media. In fact, I believe social media has made this part of my job easier. I no longer have to be in the United States to remind people to be praying for our family or ministry.

But this part of my job basically requires talking about what I do in Mexico and Latin America. To answer Tony’s question, talking about what I do (using social media) to those in the United States and elsewhere helps me be able to do what I do in Mexico and Latin America.

I am definitely interested in using social web to train youth workers. In fact, we have a social network (in Spanish) set up on Ning that has various members from all over Latin America. We use it to help them with their ministries. I’m sure we could use it better.

As always, I need to continue thinking through the question. But for some parts of my job it is easier to use social networks than others.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Timing is Everything

Krispy Kreme Mexico

I got this email on Friday from Krispy Kreme in Mexico. It really goes to prove the differences in how Americans think about time and how Mexicans think about time.

The purpose of the email was to promote their “new” Christmas doughnuts. However, they sent the email the day after Christmas, and these doughnut styles have been in the stores for weeks now.

Latin American cultures do not think about time like we think about time in the United States. They are not time oriented, nor do they plan very far in advance. I’m generalizing here, but I have observed that, in Mexico, people are much more important than events.

The person who sent this email was probably busy with Christmas parties with friends and didn’t get around to sending the Merry Christmas email until after Christmas.

Either that, or they are really early for next year.

Culture, Youth ministry, and a Japanese guy

Culture, Youth ministry, and a Japanese guy

“Identify the culture to use the culture to reach the culture” is a phrase that comes up often at both Youth Ministry International and the youth ministry classes at the Mexican Baptist Theological Seminary. Today it was something that slipped my mind.

I was in the airport with Jon and Nicolle awaiting their flight back to the United States, and we saw the Japanese guy who has been living in the Mexico City airport for a few months. Since he’s pretty much a celebrity, we decided to ask if we could have our picture taken with him. But we went about it completely wrong.

Jon and I approached the guy and asked him if he spoke Spanish. He just stared at us. Then we asked about English. We thought that surely he would speak English. Again we were met with a blank stare. Finally I motioned like I was taking a picture and he nodded in approval. We finally got what we wanted, but things could gave gone so much better.

As we returned to our table in the food court, we started talking about what we should have done differently.

For starters, we should not have assumed he would speak English. How ethnocentric of us! We looked up a few Japanese phrases after the fact that would have been useful in our quest. Basic phrases like good morning and how are you would have helped greatly. It’s always a good idea to speak people’s language.

We also should have treated him as a person. We really just wanted to say we had seen him, so we didn’t try to ask how he was or engage in small talk. People are much more open if you treat them like people and not like objects.

No wonder he’s looking at me funny in the picture.

I’m sure there are other things that we did wrong today, but reflecting on these two big mistakes will hopefully help me in the future.