Delighting in diversity in Denmark!

Sarah Owens 21 Jun 19

Diversity

We’re ALL different! I’m sure God created us this way intentionally and we are loved because of and in spite of our differences. But imagine if in the whole world everyone looked the same, wore the same clothes and played the same sports or instrument. Don’t get me wrong, identical twins and triplets are fun to know and struggle with distinguishing apart, but it gets frustrating right? And, in case you didn’t know, even “identical” siblings have something different about them, albeit very minute. This is one of the things I feel I have come to appreciate so much more since moving abroad – that differences are a beautiful thing, especially if we are open to discussing them and enjoy the diversity they bring to our lives.

Language

I’ve been so fascinated with language recently that I even tried to submit a project for my master’s thesis that would incorporate it. Unfortunately it proved too difficult to connect to music in a specific title. However, when challenged, the differences of language that can so often seem to be a barrier, can be the cause of deeper (and often amusing) conversations about more than the usual observations of life. For instance, we all know the Bible wasn’t originally written in English, and surprise surprise, it wasn’t written in Danish either! However, in order to fully understand the meaning of the text, you may find it useful to look up the Greek/Hebrew word and discover a broader picture of what’s going on. I’ve found conversation and my own thinking has become a bit like that – sometimes there isn’t a word in English that fully captures a particular Danish concept and it’s just better to learn the Danish word. Of course, this can equate to some real “Danglish” situations, but that simply makes conversations all the more fun! Similarly, I used to struggle a lot with lack of thought about sentences before saying them and having the age-old problem of getting halfway through before realising that what I’m saying doesn’t make sense. This is still a fairly regular occurrence, but since speaking to non-natives on a daily basis, I have become all the more aware of this and therefore find I think more carefully about not only how best to convey my message, but also the meaning of the words I’m using.

Culture

On another vein, it’s been challenging to see what aspects of Christianity are prioritised in another culture – what do we focus on and why? How much are we imposing our own views and standards on what we read in the Bible? I’m not going to attempt to explain where I’ve got to so far, but it’s been highlighted to me the importance of critical analysis. Perhaps you’ll consider giving these topics an outing in conversations, particularly with people from various backgrounds – if you’re living in a large city, it certainly won’t be difficult to find someone from another country (and I’m sure they would appreciate your friendliness, especially if they’re new in town) – be inquisitive and allow your assumptions to be questioned!

Prayer

Please praise God:

  • For an exciting and fruitful first year in Denmark
  • For my involvement in and enjoyment of the country, language and culture
  • For fellow Christians at RAMA (Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus)

Please pray for:

  • Continued trust in, and giving glory to, God over the summer
  • New Christian students in the upcoming academic year!

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