Cultural Engagement Competency
“The student demonstrates appreciation for the many dimensions of ongoing public-square and global conversations related to social, cultural, religious, biblical, and theological concerns, and develops a biblical Christian perspective that results in knowledgeable, compassionate dialogue with appropriate evangelistic engagement.”
Dallas Theological Seminary is committed to fulfilling the mandate of Jesus to make disciples of all nations. They ask every student to include one Cultural Engagement goal in our development plan that is focused specifically on the intercultural/cross-cultural aspects of this competency.
My personal Cultural Engagement Competency was not in the most “traditional manner”; it was for the most part based on a complete separation of knowledge. I understand and know engineering, flight and painting; I do not understand anything about law school or the law profession. I was surrounded by academic scholars in the legal profession and often found myself much like a fish out of water during discussions. However, it stretched me, and I grew emotionally and spiritually because we could all talk the same language regarding Christ.
Below are pictoral “artifacts” which may help identify who I am at my foundational level as compared to who I was interacting with and writing for at their foundational level.
Here is what I “am”: Artist, pilot, and Project Engineer of Aerospace (see resume). What I am not is a lawyer in any shape or form and if I were asked a year ago if I would be working academically with law professors I would have bet my life it was a fairytale!
What I am “Not” is above…however, after the internship I “am” more familiar!
What I have learned by interacting with Christian law professors and students is how to more efficiently speak and speak without colorful illustrations. Lawyers think black and white; I have always thought creatively even in my engineering…because in order to incorporate engineering changes, other components must be moved and it does take creativity as to where and how other tight-fitting pieces can be moved in order to create the change. Lawyers do think creatively as well in their work, but with regards to how I interacted with them, they were very straight forward. Both methods are useful; but it was an entirely different culture for me to step into and while at first I was very intimidated, it did get easier as the days continued.
5. Lifelong Development Statement
As a result of the experiences documented by these artifacts, I will continue to
develop in cultural engagement by embracing and appreciating different ways people think and speak. Although I may never change who I am or how I speak, I can more readily appreciate that when someone is being brief in their statements made to me, it does not mean they are being rude or that they don’t “like me”, but merely how they are wired and trained as a person different than me but equal as a child of God.