Thursday, January 20, 2011
When in Rome
Paul said "I have become all things to all men so that I may by all means save some" (1 Cor 9:22). Or he at least wrote something in Greek that basically means that. He might have said it too. Maybe even in Hebrew or Aramaic. But probably not in English.
To be honest, this has little to do with living a missional life and more to do with trying to fit it and avoid the funny looks, the broken English, and the constant conversations about KFC and someone's cousin in Minneapolis.
Living in France, I daily try pretty hard to fit in with the culture around me. It's not all that different, but I do consciously change the way I dress, stand, walk, and act when I'm in public, and I try verrry hard to get my pronunciation and phrases in French right. Sometimes I can go totally unnoticed as a foreigner in a crowded place, and sometimes even a few short responses into a conversation.
I've decided today though that in one facet of my life I'm okay with being an overt foreigner. Grocery shopping. As I walked to the checkout line this afternoon with a loaded down cart I prepped myself with a few key phrases and mentally practiced my pronunciation. I pulled out my wallet, looked up with half a smile and a "bonjour" at the right time and had even myself going. But then I realized that it was somewhat futile, as the moment my purchases passed the scanner, the check-out lady would easily recognize me as not French. My load was lacking in stinky cheeses, bags of breakfast breads and coffees, kiddy cookies, patés, sardines, and assorted sausages and salmons. And I had multiple packages of tortillas (not "tex-mex burrito kits"), fresh milk, black beans, a liter of caffeine-free coke, and cinnamon. Obviously not French. And you know what? I'm ok with that.