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   Dawn Wilson

 

Entries in Gail Goolsby (3)

Tuesday
Jun262018

Get in Line, People!

Gail Goolsby is intelligent and wise, and I'm always surprised by her fresh take on culture. In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, she helps us see the wisdom of waiting in line, but she also applies it to a great biblical truth.

“Around the world, I observed first hand that most cultures do not line up,” Gail said.I found myself frustrated at the crowds pushing and cramming to the front when I knew there was a better way to wait.”

I (Dawn) have been to other countries and I understand what Gail is talking about. I've thought, "How rude!" so many times.

But I never stopped to think about why people are hesitant to stand in lines.

Gail continues . . .

In my education career and particularly as a kindergarten teacher, I spent many hours explaining and training children to line up and wait for a turn.

While wiggling young bodies struggled to stand still or move in accordance to the pace of the leader, eventually even five-year olds submitted to the queue.

Lines WORK!

1. Do Lines Enhance Culture?

The success of line practice has been studied with some conclusions:

  • Lines represent trust in the equal treatment of individuals in their home cultures.

Edward T. Hall wrote in his 1959 book The Silent Language, “To us it is regarded as a democratic virtue for people to be served without reference to the rank they hold…”

  • Lines represent willingness to practice civility.

In 1837 France, 1944 Britain and 1970s America, citizens entered into long lines for rationed goods such as bread, meat and fuel, not knowing what they might receive for their patience.

  • Lines represent the belief that first-come, first-served ideology works for all.

Industrialization and factory work schedules created crowds of people trying to acquire goods and complete personal errands at virtually the same time. Shops and businesses began the promise of fair service given in order of arrival.

When immigrants join Western societies, many countries teach the concept of lines to their new citizens.

“Lining up is seen as a universal sort of truth,” said J.J. McCullough, the Vancouver-based author of J.J.’s Complete Guide to Canada. “And if someone doesn’t adhere to them then it must be because they’re uncouth or uncivilized, rather than this is a sort of idiosyncratic tradition that we’ve internalized.”

2. Why Do Cultures Refuse to Line Up?

When I moved to Afghanistan in 2005, I was more impacted by the daily chaos than the frequent terrorist violence. As disorderly mobs pressed through passport control in Kabul airport and shoppers shoved in the marketplace, I longed for the peace of a line.

Traffic lines were completely optional, even with concrete barriers to separate lanes of cars.

In overpopulated, war-ravaged, under-resourced places like India, China, Afghanistan, and Africa, people experience starvation and death regularly. To feed their family, to arrive at work, to secure medical treatment, or to receive any type of assistance in such circumstances, citizens must aggressively push to the forefront or lose out. Any hesitation means going home empty-handed.

When necessities of life are low and lives are literally at stake, people are reluctant to trust that patient waiting will result in needed supplies or opportunities.

Desperation and lack of hope in equality of their culture prompt people to trust solely in their own effort to succeed.

3. Lines Represent a Straight Path

As Christians, we believe in the equality offered by the cross.

All who submit to the provision of Christ’s death and atonement can be united with their Creator God, secure forgiveness and life eternal. We then embark on the straight path, a line leading us to freedom from sin and becoming more like Jesus.

Those who set out on their own path—who dismiss the line of Believers—end up wandering in chaos.

They trust in their own merit and good works, not the line to the Cross.

Isaiah 59:8 (NIV) says this:

The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks along will know peace.

When we realize our need for rescue, for guidance and redemption from our crazy, no-purpose life, we are on our way to the right path. We are lining up with Truth.  

Luke 1:79 (AMP) says Christ came to make a way for us: To shine upon and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct and guide our feet in a straight line into the way of peace.

Even after surrendering to Christ’s love and sacrifice, we may fall off the straight path and leave the line of life.

Thankfully, we have the written Word to correct our crookedness.

2 Timothy 3:16 (NET) tells us: Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

The word correction in this verse is not found anywhere else in the Bible. It means to restore, to set right, to repair something bent, to make it straight.

In other words, studying scripture teaches us to line up our lives as God intends.

In lining up this way, we have:

  • peace with God,
  • peace with our neighbor, and
  • peace with ourselves.

Let’s all get in line and live well.

What is stopping you from joining the queue to God’s grace?

Gail Goolsby, MA, MEd, ACC is a lifelong educator, including past leadership at an international school in Afghanistan, and credentialed life coach with the International Coach Federation. Gail and her pastor husband of 40 years live where the wind blows over the prairie in south Kansas. Gail counsels and coaches using God’s Word to help others learn to live well.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Wendy B. Koon at Pixabay.

Thursday
Nov092017

Face-to-Face Friends Go Beyond Facebook

Leave it to counselor-coach Gail Goolsby to remind us to pursue real friends. In this Friendship UPGRADE, she encourages us to go beyond Facebook.

“As of January 2016, Facebook leads social network activity with approximately 1.6 billion regular monthly users,” Gail said. The average Facebook user has about 340 friends, but are they real or fake friends?”

I (Dawn) think Gail is hitting on a great truth. How we define friends has truly changed in recent years. And with that redefinition comes some difficulties.

Gail continues…

In 2010, TV talk host Jimmy Kimmel proclaimed November 17th as National UnFriend Day.

For UTube, he created humorous videos to help his viewers determine who to dismiss from their overloaded friend list on Facebook.

He playfully demonstrated that:

  • If people posted countless selfies/baby/pet/vacation photos,
  • or if they complained about their health repeatedly,
  • or sent online game invites too many times—

CLICK. They were unfriended.

Kimmel proposed social media users should reflect on what true friendship means, and how to be a better online friend with less people.

A Good Friend is Hard to Find

How do we develop real, meaningful relationships in short phrases, food and family pictures, and emoticons from a cell phone or a computer screen?

What do online friends actually contribute to our lives?

A dozen synonyms from the thesaurus for friendship include: affection, closeness, intimacy, love, understanding, alliance, attachment, company, empathy, familiarity, fondness, and regard.

Can we form a genuine attachment to people that we do not share physical presence with on a regular basis?

Can we read others’ theological debates, political rants, favorite Bible verses, daily updates and hope to become emotionally or spiritually connected?

Let’s review friendship examples and exhortations that come from Scripture and compare them to online friendship potential.

1. Job 2:11 (ESV)

Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him.

The three friends went to sit with Job in his troubles.

Are twenty postings of encouragement on a Facebook wall as powerful as a person in physical proximity to communicate support? I don’t think so.

2. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (ESV)

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

Loneliness can be challenging as well as sad. Friends together can accomplish much and share the burden of moving, repairing, cleaning, planting, harvesting, and building.

Typed words alone will not get the tasks done.

3. Proverbs 27:6, 17 (ESV)

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Online friends can be sincere or not—who would know? Compliments and likes are easy to provide with a few clicks of computer keys or adding cute faces and heart symbols.

To speak the hard truth to a friend that could really help her life situation requires a deep knowing and foundation of trust built over time and shared experiences.

People need facial expressions and eye contact to fully comprehend risky messages and to grow from the interactions.

4. Proverbs 18:24; 17:17 (ESV)

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

How many friends should be gathered, or is quality more the question than quantity?

  • Needed are the companions who stick around when cancer strikes, to tenderly hold up a friend’s weak body after chemo.
  • When divorce erupts or a child dies, real friends offer more than comforting scripture memes.
  • Friends provide meals for the family when the wife/mother cannot get out of bed as well as online prayers.
  • People need to feel a hand on their shoulder or see an empathetic expression of sadness on their friend’s face sitting across the table, not just a teary emoji in a text box.

Face-to-Face Works Best!

Should we unfriend? Forget about spending time sorting your Facebook friend list this month. Close the laptop and get together with actual friends for some real-time activity.

Communicate with the people right in front of you instead of working your fingers to talk to others in cyberspace.

Be a live, human friend, present and engaged with the important people in your life.

Facebook can wait.

What friendships have been neglected or reduced to brief digital messages that need your personal attention and care?

Gail Goolsby, MA, MEd, is a lifelong educator, including past leadership at an international school in Afghanistan. Gail and her pastor husband of 39 years live where the wind blows over the prairie in south Kansas. She counsels and coaches using God’s Word to help others learn to live well. Get to know more about Gail here.

Graphics adapted, social media courtesy of geralt and Best Friends courtsy of cherylholt—both at Pixabay.

Thursday
Aug032017

10 Ways to Make Friends with Foreigners

Though she now lives in Kansas, Gail Goolsby once lived overseas and knows first-hand how to build friendships with people in other countries. In this Relationship UPGRADE, she encourages us to open our heart and home to make friends with foreigners.

“The world is shaken and people are scattered around the globe,” Gail said. “How can we connect as caring Christians with the international immigrants entering our communities?”

I (Dawn) have often heard pastors and evangelists say, “The mission field is coming to our doorstep.” It’s true! We need to know how to connect with those the Lord is bringing to America.

Gail continues . . .

According to Homeland Security statistics, over 560,000 immigrants received permanent U.S. resident status in the first half of 2017, coming mainly from Mexico, India, China, Philippines, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Almost 40,000 fleeing refugees were admitted to our shores. The top five countries were Syria, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Burma.

Politicians and military personnel have their own view of global wars and displaced populace seeking safety and a better life. I am no expert, but I know as private citizens we have the chance to impact the lives of some of the most vulnerable and disillusioned people with a heart of love and hospitality.

For those coming from countries closed to Christians, we may well be the first believers they meet. We can have conversation about who Jesus really is and what He can mean in their lives.

I believe God is bringing those close who used to be out of reach for the Good News.

What should be our response?

“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34 NIV).

Here are 10 ways to connect with foreign neighbors.  

1. Check with the local resettlement agencies in your area for the needs they have.

Clothes, coats, shoes, furniture and household items are essential to families arriving with great needs and few resources.

2. Educate yourself on a particular people group and culture living in your location.

Find out what foods they eat to make a welcoming meal, and learn greetings in their native language.

3. Develop relationships with shopkeepers, hair stylists, nail technicians, etc., by asking questions and showing interest.

Let them see you as a friendly Christ-follower who is open to spiritual as well as practical conversation in a non-threatening way.

4. Volunteer to be an English tutor or conversation partner.

Local colleges and churches sponsor English classes to help immigrants assimilate quickly. The main qualification is being a native English speaker!

5. Host an international friends group in your home or at a local community center.

Meet regularly with others who have the same interest to help immigrants make new friends while practicing English and learning cultural information.

6. Transport immigrants to work interviews, doctor appointments, shopping trips, etc.

Here is another opportunity to practice English and show care.

7. Invite new friends to your home and share your family.

This is the most influential way to make friends. Hospitality translates through every culture as a sincere connection point.

8. Sponsor an international student from your local university.

Text, call, or take him or her to lunch or coffee regularly to see how things are going and, again, invite into your home for holidays or weekend meals.

Take students on sightseeing outings and show off America.

9. Start a Discovery Bible Study with a small group and invite new international friends.

This is not an academic, pastor-led experience, but rather people reading selected Bible passages, talking together about what is learned, and making personal applications.

10. Bring your international friend to church or other formal study groups if he or she is comfortable.

This is not usually the best first step due to large cultural differences and misunderstandings, especially among Muslim-background friends.

Contemporary religious services can appear irreverent and offensive without thorough preparation and exposure to American culture and Christian ways before attending church.

Women are POWERFUL CONNECTORS!

The women of the world, particularly the Muslim world, are often seen as second-class citizens or worse. That doesn’t mean they are uneducated or even unloved, but typically they are very restricted in the expression of their personhood.

These people are almost unreachable by men.

They are covered, they are absent, and they are culturally not to be in the presence of men outside their family.

We as women have incredible power here, ladies.

We can speak to them, touch them, embrace them, have them in our homes uncovered, visit in their homes, and share as the sisters we really are.

I have special women friends in my hometown from Iran, Jordan, Congo, and Afghanistan. We eat together, share family time, practice English, cook new recipes from our home cultures, explore pumpkin patches, play games, watch movies, and talk for hours about female concerns and interests.

The riches of such relationships give back much more than the cost to me in time or resources. This is my opportunity to make friends with foreigners God has planted in my world at this important time in history.

What foreign neighbors cross your path that you could engage to develop a relationship and share the love of God?

Gail Goolsby, MA, Med is a lifelong educator, including past leadership at an international school in Afghanistan. Gail and her pastor husband of 39 years live where the wind blows over the prairie in south Kansas. She counsels and coaches using God’s Word to help others Learn to Live Well.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of fsHH at Pixabay.