Put my big foot right in my mouth I did, and you all were there to witness it. We were de-briefing from our Sunday church worship attendance in Hong Kong. At the big Baptist church (the largest church in Hong Kong), I noticed the Pastor was working so very hard to teach the congregation. He said some great things, a couple I thought were funny. But, not a single person in his church did so much as break a smile or even nod. No one person! Stone faced and straight laced all service long. I thought it was strange, and foolishly I said so in response to a question from Dr. Jase—right in front of every cohort member! Silly me…ignorant me.
Then Stu Cocanougher stood up and showed me the error of my ways. Right in front of every cohort member! He explained that for a Chinese/Hong Konger, to nod or laugh out loud would be to single oneself out in their culture, and they don’t do that. And just because us knucklehead Westerners like to be entertained and we express ourselves publicly, it doesn’t mean their congregation will act like I expected or want them to. Bam! I felt like a heel, and Stu was right.
Obviously, my mind went back to an earlier book we had read, Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Successby David Livermore. I knew better. We had already learned what cultural intelligence was, termed CQ , and how to avoid cultural mishaps like the one I just jumped in. Silly me…ignorant me.
Erin Meyer, in The Culture Map: Decoding How People Think, Lead, and Get Things Done Across Cultures, said it best when stating the communication scale, where people in the United States are low-context communicators, and people in places like China and Japan are high-context communicators. 
Let’s use this YouTube “Funny Culture Ads” video from HSCB Bank to illustrate the point,
As Erin Meyer wonderfully stated,
“The moral of the story is clear, you may be considered a top-flight communicator in your home culture, but what works at home may not work so well with people from other cultures.” 
I liked this quote even better from Bo’s mother in our book,
“You have two eyes, two ears, and one mouth and you should use them accordingly” 
I wish I would have remembered that quote before going on all those mission trips. How was I supposed to know in Kenya it was considered very appropriate that two friends of the same gender walk around holding hands, especially the males. It was not a sign of their sexuality, rather it was a sign of friendship and care. Should have kept my mouth closed in commenting about it.
Likewise, in Iceland, our waiter almost got vitriol when we asked how much tip was appropriate after our meal. Who knew we just offended him greatly? There was no recovering from that one, as he asked that we not return to his restaurant. Stupid Americans!
Even in Bolivia and Guatemala, our perception of time is completely the opposite. I thought when they said church started at 11am, that we actually started at 11am. Silly me. My family and the Pastor were the only persons there. About noon other people showed up, at 1pm the service really kind of began with singing and fellowshipping, and at 2pm I preached the message. Ignorant me.
Would have helped to have the chapter from Meyer titled, “How Late is Late: Scheduling and Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Time.” 
I admit I am a linear scheduler , and being on time is important to me, especially since it may be considered rude to be late while 4 other people have been “wasting their time” waiting for me. The problem is, I am sure us type A personalities have more stress, higher blood pressure, and die at an earlier age. I should be more flexible…and so should church people in the West when the service goes one-minute past noon (ha ha).
The old adage in my college was a professor could be up to 10 minutes late, with extra time allotted for higher degrees of education. That means Dr. Jase could be up to 25 minutes late, no problem, with his brilliance in education (yes, I am kidding, that was a joke, I just wanted to see if anyone was still reading this).
By the way, I have been trying to connect my Dissertation research to the books we have been reading but have not felt a great connection. For this week’s book, I was reminded that Dave Ramsey does not ship Financial Peace University outside our United States borders. Recently, while visiting Ramsey Solution Headquarters, they stated it is because of the cultural differences. No duh, folks in Africa aren’t setting aside monies in a 401K Roth Ira retirement account…
 Livermore, David A. Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The Real Secret to Success Ed. 2. Amacom, 2015.
 Meyer, Erin. The Culture Map: Decoding How People Think, Lead, and Get Things Done across Cultures. New York: BBS Public Affairs, 2015. 39.
[3}. HSBC Funny Culture Ads. Tuoxie208. Youtube.com, 2012. Assessed January 30, 2019.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOHvMz7dl2A
 Meyer. 43.
 Ibid., 26.
 Ibid., 219-240.
 Ibid., 227.