Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church (Book Notes)


Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church (Moody, 2010) by Soong-Chan Rah

Book Cover

In Many Colors, Soong-Chan Rah aims to equip local churches and their leaders to be better adapted to becoming multiethnic churches by developing cultural intelligence. Cultural intelligence and understanding how culture operates in a church community are foundational to any hopes and efforts at building a multicultural church. 

The book has three parts. Part I, Understanding Culture, lays the foundation for the rest of the book. It seeks a working definition of culture from a biblical worldview perspective. After drawing from different views of culture, including a biblical perspective, Rah arrives at this definition of culture:

So what is culture? It is a human attempt to understand the world around us. It is the programming that shapes who we are and who we are becoming. It is a social system that is shaped by the individual and that also has the capacity to shape the individual. But it is also the presence of God, the image of God, the mission of God found in the human spirit, soul, and social system. (p. 38)

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Church and Culture


Back in 2007, I was asked to write a paper for a South East Asian Christian Reformed Church (CRC) Pastors’ Conference. I wrote a paper titled, “Challenges Facing Asian Churches in North America”. Some recent discussions made me pulled out this paper again and I find that it still has relevance, both to Asian churches and non-Asian ones. Besides being a challenge to immigrant Asian churches, it also serves as an introduction to issues of culture and mission for the church. It sets up for a mini-series of posts on the “missional” church (Probably 2 or 3 posts on it.) So, here’s my revised 2007 paper: Continue reading “Church and Culture”