The countdown to Zimbabwe is just two and a half weeks away. There are so many things to do in the meantime with little time to accomplish everything. Part of the preparation is trying to understand the culture. Years ago Dr. Mark Tatlock showed a diagram of one person going from one culture to the next. I’ll use the description of culture “A” going to those in culture “Z”. The person in “A” is a block head (fitting for Americans, especially the ones I see overseas). The people in “Z” are round heads. “A” will never become “Z” but he/she can round off some of the rough edges in their “block head” to become more of an octagon head which is reminiscent of Paul’s desire to not let culture get in the way of the gospel seen in the often quoted 1 Cor. 9:19-23. Yet Paul never lost his Jewishness. While I see the importance of not letting culture stand in the way of ministry, one need to be careful to not let the other culture dictate life either. So in honor of this “A” type personality becoming more “Z”, I have a new nickname… “Baba Beals!”
Here is a little history behind the new nickname. In learning some cultural things about Zimbabwe, there is a great deal of respect for both men and women. It is seen as disrespectful to call someone older by their first name. Several “honorable” names can be used in conjunction with the last name to show reverence and respect. When addressing the women, the term “Mai” or mother is used. For the man, the term “Baba” or father is used. From what I understand, this is used for those older than you even if they do not have children. So, I am now “Baba Beals” and I kinda dig it. Soon I’ll give some insight into some African Cuisine or “chikafu” (food) because we’ll be going to an African restaurant in Hollywood.