crossing cultures on film and beyond

A. and I got to see End of the Spear last weekend after watching the trailers and related video interviews online with the rest of the family. What struck me most tellingly (as it did on that beach fifty years ago) was the way the missionaries modeled both mostly-humble cross-cultural communication (“We are just like you”) but also the self-sacrificing love of their Master. He and they refused to strike back and, even when misunderstood, demonstrated true friendship. And God came through with visible feats that could not help but communicate.

During the funeral scene, as a main indigenous character walked around behind the crowd, I thought one tall, elderly White fellow looked familiar. Later as the credits rolled we saw the reason: Long before appearing in the movie or speaking at the Cedar Campus fiftieth anniversary, Walt Liefeld married one of the martyrs’ widows. A. recalled labeling his audio tapes – that was Cedar’s final season for cassette recordings.

Closer to our new home, Madison’s State Street seems such a cross-section of campus and world cultures. Ethnic eateries generously sprinkle several blocks, alongside niche retailers and Midwestern mainstays. This updated version of Main Street attracts much of the city’s variety, drawing from the state capital on one end and the student union at the other. Last weekend we walked its length to visit the Children’s Museum, in Sunday outfits against the blowing cold. I look forward to more leisurely and enjoyable future surveys of this created diversity. – j

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