Talbot School of Theology
Small Group Curriculum - Aspects of Cultural Self-Discovery
Learn more about how and why cultural differences exist and how to deepen cross-cultural understanding.
A high-angle camera shot of numerous people walking across a bridge.
Enroll NowSample Course
$24.996 LessonsWorkshop
Overview

Many church members interact with people from another culture or ethnicity on a daily basis - at work, at school, at the grocery store, etc. They may have encountered a number of differences that they do not understand. They also have not had the time to reflect on why others may do things in a different way. However, understanding why people behave differently can improve their understanding of why they do things differently as well as improve the quality of their relationships. This knowledge can also provide a bridge for sharing the Gospel message.

How multicultural is your everyday world? Digital technology, trade, and immigration have made multicultural interactions a daily reality for many. As you interact with people from other cultures, you may encounter differences that surprise, frustrate, shock, or even anger you. These are normal human responses and are often based on a sense of “how things should be done” — which is culturally informed.

This course, which is the first in Bridging Cultural Differences through Cultural Self-Discovery series, presents a theory of culture to understand cultural differences and why a learner responds in the way they do to cultural differences. It will also clarify how the learners’ own culture often prevents their understanding of others. This process occurs by taking the learners back to their childhood homes to revisit how they learned how to do things culturally. As learners recognize the cultures that influence their behavior, they will at the same time be able to understand how their behavior may reflect more cultural values than biblical values. By understanding their culture, learners will be more open to considering how to better apply biblical principles in their relationships with others.

Explore Course 2: How Our Culture is Seen in Everyday Life

Instructor
Sheryl Takagi Silzer
Talbot School of Theology

Sheryl Takagi Silzer, Ph.D., is a third generation Japanese American multicultural consultant with SIL International and Wycliffe Bible Translators. She served for many years in Colombia, South America and in the Asia Pacific area. She currently facilitates Cultural Self Discovery workshops for multicultural mission teams, mission agencies, schools and churches around the world. The workshops are based on her book “Biblical Multicultural Teams: Applying Biblical Truth to Cultural Differences” (2011). She teaches as an adjunct in Talbot’s Asian ministry classes. Her most recent research focus is delving into how Asian cultural practices are influenced by Asian philosophies and religions (such as Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism), especially in relation to the honor/shame dynamic.Her most recent book “Tapestry of Grace: Untangling the Cultural Complexities of Asian American Life and Ministry” co-author with Dr. Ben Shin reflects that research and interest (2016). She and her husband Peter have two married sons and five grandchildren.

Talbot School of Theology is a theologically conservative, evangelical seminary in Southern California near Los Angeles. With over a 60-year heritage of biblical fidelity, the seminary couples solid evangelical scholarship with spiritual formation to prepare students for a lifetime of relevant, effective ministry. The seminary's master's degree programs and doctoral degree programs are led by a faculty of nationally renowned, widely-published and actively engaged ministry leaders.

Learn more about Biola’s Christian Ministry and Leadership M.A.

Syllabus

Participant and Facilitator Small Group Guides
Misc
Course Introduction
Video
This lesson will introduce you to the two main...
Overview
How Your Identity Responds to Cultural Differences
Video
Culture Chart
Misc
Participant and Facilitator Small Group Guides
Misc
This lesson presents God’s view of you as...
Overview
How God Views You as Made in His Image
Video
In this lesson you will learn about a theory of...
Overview
Your Cultural Lens
Video
In this lesson, you will compare your family...
Overview
Your Child Family Influence
Video
This lesson will revisit your childhood nurture...
Overview
Childhood Nurture and Discipline Forming Culture
Video
In this lesson you will discover how culture...
Overview
Childhood Home Reinforcing Your Culture
Video
Course Evaluation
Misc

Course FAQ

Each lesson is designed to take approximately 1-2 hours, depending on how deeply you engage the reflection and discussion questions. Since this is a self-paced course, the time it will take you to complete it will depend on the speed with which you want to progress through the course.

Since this course is designed as a packaged small group curriculum, you will not have any interaction with the professor during the course.

You can download the participant guide included in this course. You may then distribute electronic and/or print copies to every member of your small group.

This curriculum is designed in companionship with the text in which this series is based upon: “Biblical Multicultural Teams: Applying Biblical Truth to Cultural Differences,” Sheryl Takagi Silzer, 2011. It is highly recommended that you purchase a copy to read alongside the course material. There are also resources recommended at the end of the course that you are free to purchase if you wish to pursue further study on the course topic.

These videos are only available on Biola LEARN. You will need to be connected to the internet to view these videos.