Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Sociocentric Thinking

Written by: on September 6, 2013

Overall this tiny booklet was refreshing. If I had a highlighter handy I would have highlighted most of the book.

The way we think can either move us forward or hold us back. Our way of thinking determines how we solve our problems, how we relate to people and how we live our lives. We don’t spend much time thinking about our thinking because we think our thinking is right… but let’s face it at the end of the day our thinking has been influenced by the tweets we read, the Facebook statuses we liked and the latest headline. Rarely do we step back and ask ourselves, “Why do I think this way?” This little book gives us permission to step outside of our culturally imposed boxes and think freely.

The one thing that I found especially helpful in this booklet was the way they cover sociocentric thinking. I feel like this is the first time that I found the language that best sums up the problems I’m facing in the immigrant communities that I am part of. Nowhere is sociocentric thinking as evident and paralyzing as it is in the immigrant communities in the United States… or anywhere in the world where a group of immigrants choose to settle. I agree with Paul/Elder when they say that, “most people do not understand the degree to which they have uncritically internalized the dominant prejudices of their society or culture.” (P22) These things become even more cemented in the immigrant communities around the world.

I live in three different worlds. My family of origin is Romanian. We speak Romanian in the home (I’m not very good at it!) and my parents together with the Romanian community are convinced that the Romanian way of thinking is the right way to think. I serve in a first generation Korean church (I don’t speak Korean) where the entire community believes that their way of thinking is the right way… and I identify mostly with my American side, which too thinks that its way of thinking is a little bit superior to that of the rest of the world. In trying to reconcile these three different ways of thinking, I find it difficult to be objective and critical… it’s easy to conform… it’s hard to bring critical thinking in when in fact critical thinking is threatening and scary for most people. Critical thinking causes your foundation to shake… and no one wants that.

In theory, as leaders we want people to think critically. We want them to internalize our words… to judge them…  and to really think through what we’re saying, but I’m not sure just how much we are up to the challenge. When critical thinking challenges your identity, are we willing to put it all on the line?

Some of the questions I have as I wrap up this reading…

Isn’t critical thinking what causes some to be leaders and other followers? Doesn’t the world need both?

What if more Christians were thinking critically about their faith… what would the church look like and what would our impact look like in the world?

About the Author

Stefania Tarasut

Leave a Reply