“Is It Post-modern, or Is It Just the Real Thing?” -- Challenging Inter-cultural Mission - A Parable


  • Jim Harries


ABSTRACT Difficulties in inter-cultural translation that remain concealed if language use is devoid of context become startlingly evident when different sports are taken to represent different cultures. Widespread tensions these days common in a Third World that is increasingly dominated by the West are illustrated using a ‘parable’ in which dissimilar cultures are represented by cricket and by football (soccer). Lessons learned from the parable include: the impossibility of translation between cultures; the influence of ‘power’ on translation; problems in African scholarship using Western languages; the way English is undermined through its status as international language; how racism is aggravated; the inappropriateness of subsidised foreign intervention; issues in comparing the roles of ‘referees’ (pastors); how lies are propagated; and the relationship between specific traditions and the overall orientation of a people. Recent difficulties in inter-cultural communication are shown to arise from the use of modern communication media. Theology is found to be a singular and exemplary mode of effective intercultural communication.