Honor / Shame Cultures – Note from The Big Story

The Big Story by Justin Buzzard

~ I am reading a book, The Big Story by Justin Buzzard. In it, in a section titled Act 4:Rescue, he discusses The Parable of the Prodigal Son. With respect to this he relates the following story:

“I had a chance to preach through this parable while traveling and teaching in Cambodia. It was in a rural context, and the culture had many similarities to first-century agrarian societies like the one where our story is set. I asked the people what would happen if a son in their society came to his father and made the same demands as the younger son in our story did.  Their response was quick and stark. The son would be beaten for his disrespect. Beyond that, if the father was wealthy, he would take out an article in a local paper or publication to definitively disown his son.”

~ I am not really surprised at this reaction from the rural Cambodians. I think similar responses can take place in many Asian and Middle Eastern societies.