–Originally published on FWB21 October 13, 2011–
There are a number of spectrums available for analyzing cultures (time vs. event orientation, shame vs. guilt, dichotomistic vs. holistic thinking, etc.) One of these spectrums–task vs. relationship orientation–is of particular interest to me. Task-oriented people have the tendency to work on a task to the detriment of relationships. Relationship-oriented people, on the other hand, tend to focus more on people while ignoring or delaying the task at hand. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and neither are inherently wrong.

As you are probably already aware, this week has begun 40 days of prayer and fasting. What does that have to do with analyzing culture? I’m glad you asked! Since we are immersed in intensive culture training at the moment, I see a connection.

I was thinking this morning about fasting and how different people may approach this discipline differently. Fasting could be an objective to be checked off the to-do list of spiritual exercises. Or it could be the joyful delaying of the task of eating in order to further the ongoing relationship with God. So which is it for you? Is fasting a task, or a relationship?

If fasting is a task for you, let me challenge you to approach it more as a relationship-oriented person would. Time in the presence of God to seek His face is so important that the daily chores of life (eating, sleeping, etc.) are ignored for a bit while we focus on our relationship with God. Isn’t that the point, after all?