Building Castles in the Sky: A Case for the Use of Indigenous Languages (and Resources) in Western Mission-partnerships to Africa


  • Jim Harries


A case study illustrates the importance of issues addressed in this article that are all too often occluded in missionary reporting. The use of one language in cross-cultural discourse conceals important difference from view. This means that ‘asking questions’ of the cultural other is a fraught exercise full of traps and blind spots. Different means of overcoming this difficulty are proposed. Much inter-cultural discourse results in building castles in the sky. The use of local languages and resources is found to be critical to the success of inter-cultural partnerships with believers and churches in the majority world.