Jump directly to the Content

Avoiding the Ugly American Stereotype

Never serve finger foods in Bolivia and other tips to help you minister sensitively in unfamiliar cultures.

It was a beautiful summer day, and the crowds were meandering along Grafton Street to the melodies of a busking trio set up in front of a statue of Molly Malone. The trio, comprised of two violinists and a cellist, were performing "Pachelbel's Canon in D major" to perfection. As the crowd gathered in appreciation around the red-headed sisters in flowing white dresses, an incident occurred that was tantamount to crashing cymbals during a violin solo. A tourist, apparently walking toward a destination he could not find and oblivious to his surroundings, passed right in front of the musicians with an unfurled map in one hand and a cell phone in the other, yelling, "What's that? I can't hear you! Let me get past this noise!"

I cringed, thinking it couldn't get any worse, until a young boy in front of me tugged on his father's arm and asked in a distinctive Irish accent, "That was an American, wasn't it Dad?"

My heart sank.

Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland is known for many things: beautiful ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

October
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
Negligence Is a Deadly Sin
Negligence Is a Deadly Sin
The Bible is consistent in condemning shortcuts that hurt others. And they’re rife.
Editor's Pick
What We Lose When We Livestream
What We Lose When We Livestream
Do our online viewers truly realize what they’re missing?
close