Exchanges Down Under Part 4: Being "American"

Exchanges Down Under Part 4:  Being “American”[*]

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Instead of reactive, think about being proactive and ask them questions that really matter…like what is your definition/concept of gospel, grace , salvation.
Ask them what they think is the most important thing in life.

Ask them if their pastors do any surveys to see what % have ever read the whole bible through once.

What % even read the SS lesson…or even read the few verses on Galatians that are the focus of that week.

Where I attend, just my mentioning that 90% of churchgoers have never read the whole bible has gotten 2 families to read the bible all the way through.

This Sabbath I will ask many if they ever heard the pastor define the gospel from the pulpit. I have yet to hear it once in scores of sermons.

Who ME? Naa, I am a fanatic, self-righteous, legalistic, arrogant, neo-Pharisee, professing perfection and never eat rocky road ice cream or bacon. I only eat no salt Dinner Cuts…can’t you tell?? I post here so I can easily tell what other poster’s pet peeves are.

In SDA circles perception is often warped due to personal issues indicated in Rom 2:1 & 10:2 ,21.
Seen it for many years.

Do you ever relate to people simply on a non religious level, finding what their likes, pet peeves, favorite foods, work, hobbies, interests, families are like? People will warm up to those who take a human interest in them, rather than to those who barrage them with a religious questionnaire. Spiritual matters are intimate, shared more easily among those who are already friends. That’s where the writer of this article seemed to find herself, in the position of an American trying to navigate in another culture and making human connections. Or, does just making connections and friends not matter to you?




You may have your tongue planted firmly in your cheek, but it is often how you come across.


You’re simply seconding what I originally observed. You throw up isolated scripture quotes, and come across like someone who is religiously addicted rather than relationally oriented. Proving the lostness and wrongness of everyone who hasn’t read the bible through or who can’t define gospel or justification to your satisfaction is the majority of what I see you posting. How can people respond favorably to someone who is more interested in telling them how criminally wrong they are than anything else? And, if this is how you deal in person in a church setting, how can people ever relate to you personally? I hope it’s not the case.


Lisa, you have punctured the balloon of expectation regarding representational discourse. Can only a black or Asian or Hindu or woman, for example, speak for those minorities? And how do we navigate the vast terrain of nuances within categories?

Perhaps we speak up for the marginalized always and allow “them” to speak for themselves whenever plausible, recognizing that individuals carry and represent the most validity.

Anyway, I’m not giving advice here, just thinking aloud as allowed. Thanks again for sharing.

PS: Ain’t those Ozzies great?


In my own experience traveling, I find myself surprised not at how much better the American way is, but how inferior it is in so many ways and at so many levels. It matters not what part of the world we visit. Our geography, natural resources and immigrant population have created a unique culture that has its share of weaknesses and strengths, as all cultures do. We are young and brash and full of ourselves (“we are the greatest nation on earth”–really, in what ways?), and embarrassingly ignorant of the world beyond our borders. Further, we reach too far in our business expansion. I don’t want to see a McDonalds in Luxembourg or, perish the thought, in Lebanon. I was delighted to discover in my one and only visit to Japan (decades ago) that they had HD television long before we did and that they can hardly digest the high fat foods that we salivate over. In my one visit to Egypt I expressed effusive admiration for their storied history and accomplishments, only to be reminded that they “really” feel inferior to America. Say what?

It gets tiresome.


As you are on an “exchange,” Lisa, I wonder if your Australian counterpart addressing students at Southern is likewise writing up his/her reflections on the magic of faculty transportation?

Being an Aussie who became an Australian-American, I’d love to be able to read both!


Graeme–Daniel and I did a dialogue two-part series back at the beginning of our exchange. Here’s his part. If you can talk him into writing more about his experience I know we would all love to hear from the Aussie on this. But maybe he’s too polite to write about it more, lol.


Yes, Chris, I’m surrounded by beautiful and tolerant people who are allowing me to have this experience while cheering me on and going ot of their way to broaden and deepen it. I’m loving all these new friends.


You’ve captured some more of this dilemma. It’s comparing apples and oranges when we think about how each place has things to admire and enjoy. And saying how much we are enjoying one spot doesn’t mean it is better or worse then another in everything. Our physical geography is indeed every serendipitous.

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