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MB501/601:  Insights for Cultural Understanding (4 units)

Judith Lingenfelter, Affiliate Professor, SIS Fuller Theological Seminary

Summer 2011, Phoenix



This course addresses cultural self-awareness and cross-cultural competence for building healthy relationships within diverse communities. Drawing upon anthropological perspectives, students gain basic principles and skills for researching and interacting among diverse cultural and social groups.


LEARNING OUTCOMES:  By the end of the course students will

1.     Demonstrate cultural self awareness and an understanding of personal and cultural biases;

2.     Utilize interview techniques of “personal story” and “focused conversation” to elicit the social and cultural context of an immigrant and reflect upon the relevance of cultural understanding for ministry;

3.     Apply the perspectives of basic values, cultural intelligence, and theological reflection on global issues to analyze the culture of the immigrant interviewed;

4.     Design a plan for the adaptation of one’s personal culture to do effective ministry among the peoples and culture of the immigrant interviewed. 



Students will learn via lectures/presentations, case studies, media clips, class discussions, student presentations, and small group exercises.  The course will meet for 30 class hours in a two week intensive.



1.     Lingenfelter, Sherwood & Marvin K. Mayers. 2003  Ministering Cross Culturally.  Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker.  ISBN 0801026474.  $14.99

2.     Ra, Soong Chan.  2010 Many Colors:  Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church. Chicago, IL:  Moody Publishers.  ISBN 0802450482.  $14.99

3.     Ramachandra, Vinoth  2008  Subverting Global Myths.  Grand Rapids, MI:  IVP Academic.  ISBN 0830828850.  $23.00

4.     Spradley, James P. and David McCurdy.  Conformity and Conflict:  Readings in Cultural Anthropology.  13th ed. Boston, MA:  Allyn & Bacon, 2008.  ISBN 0205645852.  $68.00



  1. Write a 3000 word cultural self assessment paper, completing the basic values profile from Lingenfelter/Mayers 2003, and reflecting upon this data.
  2. Write seven personal reflection essays (approx. 500-700 words) at the conclusion of each day’s class.
  3. Conduct two one hour interviews with a recent (less than 10 years) immigrant to the United States, and write a 3000 word report of those interviews.
  4. Prepare and deliver an oral presentation on an assigned chapter from Spradley (chapter to be determined by the professor).
  5. Write a plan for effective ministry that integrates information from both the cultural self-assessment paper and the immigrant interview report (3000 words).  




RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: Required for the MATM, MACL, MAT and Elective for the MDIV.