Friday, March 20, 2009
Culture & Economy
As an organization, CSM values diversity. We understand that our own worldview is limited, because we only know what we have experienced in our own lives and situations. But when we interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds, we begin to see life from another perspective. We learn that perhaps our own views are heavily tinted by wealth, privilege, and North American culture. We embrace who we are and celebrate the ways God has blessed us, but we open our minds and hearts to other outlooks on life. These are some of the core beliefs that drive CSM to place our groups in situations where they get to do just that – interact with other cultures. One way we accomplish this is by taking our mission groups to different ethnic restaurants each night of their trips. Since food is something that’s common to all humanity, we find it is a great way to begin to bridge cultures.
But in these economically challenging times, having our groups dine at local ethnic eateries serves another purpose. Our groups provide much needed income for our friends at our partner restaurants. Fall is a slow season for us, with very few trips. In October, the owner of our Indian restaurant called and asked if everything was ok between us. I assured him that we love his restaurant, and that we’d be back as soon as business picked up for us. We are proud to expose our groups to new foods and cultures, but we are equally as proud to support the local economy in times when people are most in need. Thank God for our groups, who are open to trying new things and willing to invest some of their own resources in our neighborhood businesses.
-Tim and Kelly Reed, CSM Chicago City Directors