Does Jesus Christ have cultural intelligence?

A formula for cultural intelligence (Brooks Peterson)
A formula for cultural intelligence (Brooks Peterson)

Knowledge about Cultures + Awareness of Self and Others + Specific Skills = Cultural Intelligence (CQ). This is according to Brooks Peterson in his book, Cultural Intelligence: A Guide to Working with People from Other Cultures (page 13).

In the interaction that Jesus has with the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4, we have the opportunity to understand Jesus Christ through this lens of cultural intelligence.

  • Jesus displays accurate knowledge about both his Hebrew culture and the culture of Samaria;
  • Jesus displays an extremely keen awareness of himself and the Samaritan woman, and,
  • Jesus displays enormous skill in relating cross-culturally to a woman with whom no Jewish man would have been seen, much less have a deeply meaningful conversation.
CHRIST with THE WOMAN AT THE WELL
CHRIST with THE WOMAN AT THE WELL

I love this story, and I love discovering new facets of the perfections of Jesus Christ. Take a look at John 4 again, and consider seeing it through this “formula:” Knowledge about Cultures + Awareness of Self and Others + Specific Skills = Cultural Intelligence (CQ). What do you see in the perfections of the Lord’s cultural intelligence?

Note: A lesson series in The Beauty of Partnership learning journey combines a study of John chapter 4 along with a reading in Brooks Peterson’s book. You may download this study by clicking on this link.

What does all this have to do with the practice of cross-cultural partnership? Simply this: Without CQ—cultural intelligence—cross-cultural partnerships are doomed to failure, or at best, very limited results. Some Christians think that only career missionaries need to actually develop proficiency in cultural intelligence, and that partnerships in the global church don’t require it. Nothing could be further from the truth! There is a need for cultural intelligence by anyone doing any type of ministry that is done cross-culturally. That is why Mission ONE has developed The Beauty of Partnership learning journey.

Don’t you want to be more like Christ—who is perfect in his cultural intelligence?


Leave a Reply