podcast episode #3


For Chris Flanders, Frank Henderson Stewart’s Honor is a helpful backbone in understanding honor-shame dynamics in all cultures.

What do we talk about?

Jackson interviews Chris Flanders who says there is no such thing as “honor” or “honor cultures. Yet, this seems to contradict much of what’s been written about honor and shame cultures. We discuss misunderstandings that people tend to have about honor and shame. What does honor do? How does it function? How does defining honor as a “right to respect” impact how we live?

Honor glutton, a Greek term, is a major issue between Aristotle and Homer’s versions of honor (e.g., warrior, public face, reputation.). Aristotle says honor should be based in virtue. This debate is not new and our job is to figure out how Jesus understood the term. Chris saw this play out so visibly in Thai culture and language. Hebrews 5:5 came alive after learning this from his Thai brothers and sisters.

We also wander into how honor-shame play out in government and culture here in America. Private and public honor codes shape how cultures function.


Who is our guest?

Chris Flanders is a professor of Missions at Abilene Christian University, where he has been teaching since 2005. His PhD in Intercultural Studies is from Fuller Theological Seminary. For nine years, Chris served as the director of the Halbert Institute for Missions at ACU. Prior to his time at ACU, Chris spent a total of eleven years in Thailand, working in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Through studying Thai for the first time, right out of college, Chris started to have a greater understanding of Honor/Shame dynamics. On the heels of that, he read Norman Krause’s, Jesus Christ our Lord. This, plus several other deep cultural encounters, began his lifelong curiosity for studying Honor/Shame in Scripture

He serves on the leadership team of the Honor-Shame Network and actively writes and researches in the areas of face and facework theory and the anthropology of honor and shame. His dissertation on face in the Thai context received the American Society of Missiology distinguished dissertation award in 2011. He is the author of About Face: Rethinking Face for 21st Century Mission and edited Devoted to Christ: Missiological Reflections in Honor of Sherwood Lingenfelter and (with Werner Mischke) Honor, Shame, and the Gospel: Reframing our Message and Ministry.


Want to go deeper?


Frank Henderson Stewart, Honor

Charles Stewart, “Honor and Shame” in International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences

Jayson Georges, The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures

Werner Mischke, The Global Gospel: Achieving Missional Impact in Our Multicultural World

David deSilva, The Hope of Glory: Honor Discourse and New Testament Interpretation

David deSilva, Honor, Patronage, Kinship and Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture

Jackson Wu, Saving God’s Face: A Chinese Contextualization of Salvation through Honor and Shame

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