Cultural perceptions and misconceptions

I had an interesting lunch conversation with my coworkers here in Kenya—one that prompted me to think about how our assumptions are often misconceptions.

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One of the teachers asked, “In the States, what do they call the black thing that covers the eye?”

“A patch?” I responded.

As the conversation continued it was confirmed that it was indeed the eyepatch that now had everyone at the table intrigued. I was kind of puzzled about why everyone was so interested, but I just continued to talk about different kinds of eyepatches, reasons for wearing them—and Captain Hook. As I began telling them about Peter Pan and Captain Hook, another teacher mentioned the only place they had seen the “black thing that covers the eye” was in movies.

However, the Kenyans’ view of the eyepatch is much different than mine. The teachers told me they thought if you had an eyepatch, you were a millionaire.

I guess each person’s view of an object is truly different. I grew up thinking if you had an eyepatch, you were a pirate. Others grew up thinking that it meant you were a millionaire.

This conversation got me thinking of how our assumptions are often misconceptions, and it has given me something to chew on throughout day. If something as simple as an eyepatch can be viewed in such different ways based on how one is exposed to it, I must ask myself how I am reflecting Christ to others. Do I reveal the truth of the gospel with my life? Or am I presenting a misconception of who he really is?

Al Johnson from the University of Texas at San Antonio is a student missionary correspondent with Go Now Missions.

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