Cultural differences increasingly impact our everyday lives. Virtually none of us today interact exclusively with people who look, talk, and behave like we do. David Smith here offers an excellent guide to living and learning in our culturally interconnected world.Learning from the Stranger
articulates what "culture" is, discusses how cultural difference affects our perceptions and behavior, and explores how Jesus' call to love our neighbor involves learning from cultural strangers. Built around three chapter-length readings of extended biblical passages (from Genesis, Luke, and Acts), the book skillfully weaves together theological and practical concerns, and Smith's engaging text is peppered with stories from his own extensive firsthand experience.
This insightful book is particularly pertinent for today's college students, although many other thoughtful readers will also resonate with Smith as he encourages the virtues of humility and hospitality in our personal interactions -- and shows how actually learning from
strangers, not just imparting our own ideas to them, is an integral part of Christian discipleship.
Terry A. Osborn
— Fordham University
"What I so admire about the work of David Smith is his unique ability to take the complexities of postmodern scholarship and translate them with clarity for contemporary students. In Learning from the Stranger Smith tackles the elusive and ubiquitous 'culture,' exploring how those of us committed to living for Christ must grapple with our own conceptualizations of the stranger as a way of understanding who we are and how we interact with those around us. Important reading for today's college students."
— Fuller Theological Seminary
"A radically different introduction to the study of language and culture from a Christian theological perspective. . . Smith's most powerful argument is that learning other languages and cultures is a task for ordinary Americans, not just those who hope to serve as cross-cultural missionaries. . . I recommend this book as an excellent, theologically grounded introduction to cultural learning for use in courses on cultural diversity in Christian colleges and other faith-based communities."