The Congregation at Duke University Chapel

The Right Posture for Holy Relationships

For the ears, you can listen to an audio recording [high fidelity audio playable under all personal computer operating systems via VLC media player, Microsoft Windows Media Player with the codecs for FLAC et al, OS X QuickTime with the XiphQT plugin, etc., on many Android-based mobile devices, and on iOS-based mobile devices via apps such as FLAC Player or Golden Ear]

Cultivating a Posture of
Cultural Humility for Holy

presentation at Adult Forum by
The Rev. Ismael Ruiz-Millan
director of the Hispanic House of Studies, Global Education, and Intercultural Formation at Duke Divinity School
January 5, 2020

[This is a continuation of the topic started on December 1, 2019. ]

The political environment as well as the rhetoric and acts of hate in our society makes it difficult for any person to engage in authentic ways with our community. We are so cautious that we prevent ourselves from meaningful and holy friendships - we prevent ourselves from being a good neighbor. Ecclesial spaces are not the exception, we are often very careful of not having "the wrong people" in our pews, that instead of becoming exemplars of holy relationships, we often become exclusive spaces. In this class, by taking a close look to the principles of cultural humility, participants will learn about the posture needed in order to be a good neighbor that fosters holy relationships.


• Lord, open unto me by Howard Thurman(Adapted)
• Open unto us — light for our darkness.
Open unto us — courage for our fear.
Open unto us — hope for our despair.
Open unto us — peace for our turmoil.
Open unto us — joy for our sorrow.
Open unto us — strength for our weakness.
Open unto us — wisdom for our confession.
Open unto us — forgiveness for our sins.
Open unto us — love for our hates.
Open unto us — Your Self for our selves.
• Lord, Lord, open unto us! Amen.

THE POSTURE NEEDED TO move toward Cultural Humility

  • Philippians 2 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
  • Imitating Christ’s Humility
    If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was[a] in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    [a] Or that you have.

Cultural Humility

[time limitations allowed us to watch only a portion of this video during class ]

Mark 1:14-15

art depicting Jesus proclaiming
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."

Cultural Humility Principle I

Life long learning and critical self reflection graphic containing the word 'intrapersonal'

  • Commits to lifelong learning process
  • Engages in critical self-reflection
  • Self-awareness of biases and limitations
  • Values of humility and compassion
  • Self-examination should lead to repentance about unhealthy ways we relate to other cultures
  • Realization that we need God and one another to overcome our differences and forms of dehumanization
  • Are there areas in my life that need redemption as it relates to my interaction with others, especially others different from me?

Philippians 2:3

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.

art depicting foot washing

Cultural Humility Principle II

Challenge Power Imbalances for the development of authentic partnerships graphic containing the word 'interpersonal'

  • Approaches students and peers with openness
  • Promotes mutual empowerment, trust, and respect
  • Encourages peer-learning, including learning from patients
  • Promotes culture of collaboration and cooperation
  • Approach other cultures affirming the Imago Dei in them
  • Seeks to become an instrument of the restoration of the Imago Dei caused by sinful, arrogant and selfish behaviors
  • Encourages learning from those often tag as “mission recipients” or “the least of these”
  • Do I have any power or influence over others?
  • How do they perceive the way I use my power and influence?

Luke 19:36-40

art depicting Palm Sunday

36 As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38 saying,
"Blessed is the king
    who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
    and glory in the highest heaven!" 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” 40 He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out."

Cultural Humility Principle III

Institutional Accountability graphic containing the word 'organizational'

  • Commitment to diversity and equity
  • Anti-discrimination policies
  • Equitable hiring, training, and advancement practices
  • Equitable distribution of knowledge and tools
  • Supportive learning environment
  • Culturally and linguistically appropriate services
  • Student-centered vision and mission statements
  • Commitment to holistic care and reconciliation as the heart of any mission or evangelistic efforts, not as an add-on kind of ministry
  • Follows Jesus’ model of equipping and using those often not seen for key influencing and decision making spaces
  • Prophetic ministry that seeks to establish systems that really reflect Jesus’ Kingdom: that is redemptive, encompassing of all, and restorative
  • Am I committed to see transformation happening in oppressive institutions?
  • Am I committed to nurture my spiritual life to face the powers and principalities that often are the source of oppression?
  • Am I willing to renounce to my own needs for the sake of the common good, for the sake of Shalom/Beloved communities?

Using the cultural humility principles: institutionally

  • Institutional Accountability

"The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. The type of live that I stress here is not eros, a sort of esthetic or romantic love; not philia, a sort of love between personal friends; but it is agape which is understanding goodwill for all men. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. It is the love of God working the lives of men. This is the love that may well be the salvation of our civilization." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

photo of Martin Luther King, Jr.

graphic containing 'telling the trugh, proclaiming the dream, practicing the way, repairing the breach'

When was the first time you had a positive encounter with a culture/race different from your own?

art depicting Jesus on the road

Why was it positive?

When was the first time you had a challenging encounter with a culture/race different from your own?

art depicting Jesus on the road

Why was it challenging?

How Racially Diverse Are U.S. Religious Groups?

% of each religious group in each racial/ethnic category, and each group's diversity score on the Herfindahl-Hirschman index bar graphs for ~30 groups

Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist Multicultrual Organization

Racial and Cultural Differences Seen as Deficits ==> Tolerant of Racial and Cultural Differences ==> Racial and Cultural Differences Seen as Assets

An Exclusionary Institution

  • Intentionally and publicly exclues or segregates African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans
  • Intentionally and publicly enforces the racist status quo throughout institution
  • Institutionalization of racism inclues formal policies and practices, teachings, and decision making on all levels
  • Usually has similar intentional policies and practices toward other socially oppressed groups such as women, gays and lesbians, Third World citizens, etc.
  • Openly maintains the dominant group's power and privilege

2. Passive
A "Club" Institution

  • Tolerant of a limited number of "token" People of Color and members from other social identity groups allowed in with "proper" perspective and credentials
  • May still secretly limit or exclude People of Color in contradiction to public policies
  • Continues to intentionally maintain white power and privilege through its formal policies and practicesk teachings, and decision making on all levels of institutional life
  • Often declares "We don't have a problem"
  • Monocultural norms, policies and procedures of dominant culture viewed as the "right way" and "business as usual"
  • Engages issues of diversity and social justice only on club member's terms and within their comfort zone

3. Symbolic Change
A Compliance Organization

  • Makes official policy pronouncements regarding multicultural diversity
  • Sees itself as "non-racist" institution with open doors to People of Color
  • Carries out intentional inclusiveness efforts, recruiting "someone of color" on committees or office staff
  • Expanding view of diversity includes other socially oppressed groups

    But ...
  • "Not those who make waves"
  • Little or no contextual change in culture, policies, and decision making
  • Is still relatively unaware of continuing patterns of privilege, paternalism and control
  • Token placements in staff positions must assimilate into organizational culture

4. Identity Change
An Affirming Institution

  • Growing understanding of racism as barrier to effective diversity
  • Develops analysis of systemic racism
  • Sponsors programs of anti-racism training
  • New consciousness of institutionalized white power and privilege
  • Develops intentional identity as an "anti-racist" institution
  • Begins to develop accountability to racially oppressed communities
  • Increasing commitment to dismantle racism and eliminate inherent white advantage
  • Actively recruits and promotes members of groups that have been historically denied access and opportunity
    But ...
  • Institutional structures and culture that maintain white power amd privilege still intact and relatively untouched

5. Structural Change
A Transforming Institution

  • Commits to process of intentional institutional restructuring, based upon anti-racist analysis and identity
  • Audits and restructures all aspects of institutional life to ensure full participation of People of Color, including their world-view, culture, and lifestyles
  • Implements structures, policies, and practices with inclusive decision making and other forms of power sharing on all levels of the institutions life and work
  • Commits to struggle to dismantle racism in the wider community, and builds clear lines of accountability to racially oppressed communities
  • Anti-racist multicultural diversity becomes an institutionalized asset
  • redefines and rebuilds all relationshipsand activities in society, based on anti-racist commitments

6. Fully Inclusive
Anti-Racist Multicultural Organization in a Transformed Society

  • Future vision of an institution and wider community that has overcome systemic racism and all other forms of oppression
  • Institution's life reflects full participation and shared power with diverse racial, cultural and economic groups in determining its mission, structure, constituency, policies, and practices
  • Members across all identity groups are full participants in decisions that shape the institution, and inclusion of diverse cultures, lifestyles, and interest
  • A sense of restored community and mutual caring
  • Allies with others in combating all forms of social oppression
  • Actively works in larger communities (regional, national, global) to eliminate all forms of oppression and to create multicultural organizations


© Crossroads Ministry, Chicago, IL: Adapted from original concept by Bailey Jackson and Rita Hardman, and further developed by Andrea Avazian and Ronice Branding; further adapted by Melia LaCour, PSESD

Cultural humility exercise

  • Take a look to the Continuum on Becoming an Antiracist Multicultural Organization.
  • Reflect individually first on the following questions:
  • Where would you place yourself in this continuum?
  • Where would you place Duke Chapel in this continuum?
  • Reflect as a group on the following question:
  • Where would you place your district/conference/denomination at large in this continuum?

Core IDI Concept; Culture

several people in conversation

Understanding "culture" is the foundation - the starting point – for all intercultural efforts. It is the most difficult concept to find widespread agreement on, yet it is central to everything.
- Dr. Mitchell Hammer

Core IDI Concept; Culture

several people in conversation

Objective Culture:

The artifacts and institutions created by a group of people, reflected in such areas as art, architecture, literature, dance, holidays and collective history.

Subjective Culture:

Patterns of interpretations (values, beliefs, perceptions) and behavior learned from one’s group that guide individual and group activity. The IDI [Intercultural Development Inventory] measures the degree of subjective intercultural competence.

Licensed & Copyright 2019 Mitchell R. Hammer, Ph.D.

Two Ways of Thinking about Cultural Differences

Objective Culture vs. Subjective Culture graphic showing larger submerged Subjective componenets

Licensed & Copyright 2019 Mitchell R. Hammer, Ph.D.

Intercultural Development Continuum: Primary Orientations

graphic depicting growth from denial to adaptation

Licensed & Copyright 2019 Mitchell R. Hammer, Ph.D.

CQ Cultural Intelligence

What is CQ? Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is a person's capability to function effectively in a variety of cultural contexts - both internationally and domestically.
In our own cultures, we usually have an idea of what's going on around us because we have a wealth of information, most of which is subconscious, that helps us make sense of what we experience and observe.
When we interact with individuals who have a different cultural background, the same cues may mean something entirely different.
graphic depicting drive to knowledge to strategy to action to drive ...

photo of man
Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people’s plight.
Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.
Help me take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can feel free at last.
Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.
Give me honesty and patience;
So that I can work with other workers.
Bring forth song and celebration;
So that the Spirit will be alive among us.
Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
So that we will never tire of the struggle.
Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.
Help us love even those who hate us;
So we can change the world.