Goshen challenged to become more interculturally competent

Goshen challenged to become more interculturally competent

Brenda Salter McNeil spoke in a special extended convocation Wednesday.  Photo by Julia Baker.

Brenda Salter McNeil spoke in a special extended convocation Wednesday. Photo by Julia Baker.

The Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil presented 10 ways people can become more interculturally competent in her extended chapel on Wednesday. McNeil, a leader in the field of racial and ethnic reconciliation, used the story of Jesus at the well as a model in her speech “A More Excellent Way.”

According to McNeil, students at private Christian institutions have the potential to become the desirable graduates that employers are looking for. McNeil said that employers want moral and ethical people these days “who will show up for work and not steal things.”

The second aspect of a desirable graduate is a person who is interculturally competent.

“Some Christians are not able to interact with other cultures,” McNeil said. While Christians are morally and ethically educated, they often lack training and education regarding international relationships and cultural etiquette.

McNeil suggested that people who are interculturally competent mirror Jesus and should:

1.  Have a divine mandate from God

2.  Have  real need for people who are different from us

3.  Challenge their comfort zones

4.  Engage in intercultural interaction

5.  Be risk takers

6.  Experience counter-cultural social action

7.  Relinquish power

8.  Have authentic spirituality

9.  Have reciprocity

10.  Be bridge-people

“I want to suggest that few people who go into intercultural experiences bring what they learned back home,” said McNeil.

During her presentation, McNeil also spoke highly of Shane Claiborne, who will speak at Goshen College on March 18.

In 1995, McNeil founded Overflow Ministries, Inc., a non-profit, faith-based organization devoted to the ministry of racial and ethnic reconciliation. Today, McNeil continues this work through Salter McNeil & Associates, LLC, a racial and ethnic reconciliation consulting firm based in Chicago.

McNeil received a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry from Palmer Theological Seminary. She is also co-author of the book “The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change” (InterVarsity Press, 2005), and authored a chapter in “Women’s Liberation, Jesus Style” (InterVarsity Press, 1998, 2002).

“My main goal is to promote conversation around the campus,” McNeil said. McNeil will speak at campus worship night on Wednesday at the Recreation-Fitness Center and will also present chapel on Friday.

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Annalisa Harder
Written by Annalisa Harder

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