Why did the monkey help the fish by taking it out of the water?
Sounds like the first line of a joke, doesn't it?? It's actually a study question from a cultural adaptability story. I'll share the story here, but in the mean time, if anyone can think of a good punch line, share it under the comments section!!!
The Monkey and the Fish:
A typhoon had temporarily stranded a monkey on an island. In a secure, protected place, while waiting for the raging waters to recede, he spotted a fish swimming against the current. It seemed obvious to the monkey that the fish was struggling and in need of assistance. Being of kind heart,the monkey resolved to help the fish.
A tree precariously dangled over the very spot where the fish seemed to be struggling. At considerable risk to himself. the monkey moved far out on a limb, reached down and snatched the fish from the threatening waters. Immediately scurrying back to the safety of his shelter, he carefully laid the fish on dry ground. For a few moments the fish showed excitement, but soon settled into a peaceful rest. Joy and satisfaction swelled inside the monkey. He had successfully helped another creature.
The moral of the story: Always ask the fish first! :)
Ok, seriously, we were discussing the need and criteria for evaluating other cultures. Going into a different culture creates a myriad of opportunities to misjudge and misunderstand the culture. If we're not careful, it's possible to do serious harm to others as well as your ministry just as the well-meaning monkey did. On the other hand, it's possible to go to far and adapt too much of the culture. Can you imagine what would happen if the aforementioned monkey decided he was going to live and breath in the water all the time, just like the fish? I've grown up my whole life desiring to be African, but when it comes right down to it, I won't want to take part in every part of the culture. Just as I have to be discerning about my American culture, I will need to be just as discerning about my African culture. So if you all would like to start praying for wisdom and discernment for me, especially in regards to culture and working with the nationals, I would greatly appreciate it!!