I remember many questions that rose on my first trip to Sweden. How different were we? Externally there were many components to life that are similar to life in the states. People enjoy fashion, seeing the latest movie and talking about the current sports. Our team was incredibly welcomed by the churches and cared for with hospitality from different families. We had fun. We played games, hung out with youth, drank coffee, went to church, and handled our business. How different were we?
There was one question that stood out more than the others. Was my christianity motivated out my American culture or the Bible? I was driven to search out whether or not this popular american phrase, “Be all you can be,” was purely American. What are the correct expectations to have on a believer that would be a cross-cultural principle? I have my personality to consider…I am a high I on the DISC test, an out loud processor, and I love people. Interacting with northern swedes whose most common response was an inhaled whistle sound to me threw me for many loops.
What culture our we creating in the groups we facilitate? Whether a leader’s meeting, small group, large group gatherings, as leaders we have a responsibility to cultivate a biblical culture advancing the Kingdom of God. There is an aspect of “be all you can be” that is completely american. We make posters, bumper stickers, t-shirts, key chains and market our vision in any and every way possible. Yet as I search the scriptures, there is a biblical “be all you can be” follower of Jesus. Jesus did not give permission for cultural trends that quenched the movement of the Spirit of God instead he challenged them towards God’s perspective.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16.24-25)
I love the Swedish culture. There are many aspects to the swedish worldview that as I learn them, I grow as a person for the better. I have only lived here now for one year and I have so much more to learn and understand. I don’t want Swedes to act like Americans. I want us to learn how to sharpen each other to live more biblical.
Who am I? My name is Sarah Bedi and I live in Luleå with the desire to participate with church planting efforts in the north! Attempting to share lessons I am learning along the way!