Respect and Culture…

Respect… is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique. Annie Gottlieb

Meditation: The concept of “respect” looks different in various cultures. In a more hierarchical, patriarchal or “elder” centered culture, respect means to show a behavior of submission and respect, to withhold one’s feelings or personal truth if it collides or differs from the person who is older or who has more power. “Other respect” in these cultures is a very important feature to structure life and behavior built on certain laws and societal values.

In a more mutual, democratic or female centered approach, respect means to agree to disagree at times, to express oneself, even if the other person who has more power or is older does not like the expression of one’s truth. “Self-respect” is very important to not lose oneself to the “laws” set from the outside. In this approach authenticity, congruence and self-empowerment are very important features to negotiate life and to create shared structures.

How do these two concepts critique each other and how do they complement each other? “Other-respect” and “Self-respect”, how can those both be valid and both be important?

Prayer: God, you are often portrait as having all the power, and we humans then respect you because we fear you. And yet you decided to enter our human existence and to live on our level in Jesus, the Christ. We encounter you and learn to respect you in new ways, as you came to know us, entered into relationship with us, shared our life and empathized with us. We no longer fear you, but have come to know you and love you. Our respect for you grew. And we are grateful. Amen

Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. Colossians 3:20-21