Photo Credit: Ozyman via Compfight cc

I read some of these books like a bobble-head doll – head bobbing agreement the whole time.

Others frustrated me and sent me digging deeper for answers to tough questions. Hopefully everything you find here is worthy of your time and serves to challenge, entertain, or inform you.

  • From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions – Ruth Tucker
  • What on Earth is the Church For? – David Devenish
  • Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels – Kenneth Bailey
  • Paul through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians – Kenneth Bailey
  • Let the Nations be Glad: The supremacy of God in missions – John Piper
  • Ministering Cross-Culturally: An incarnational model for personal relationships – Sherwood G. Lingenfelter and Marvin K. Mayers
  • Hidden Worldviews: Eight cultural stories that shape our lives – Steve Wilkens and Mark L. Sanford
HOW-TO: getting specific & practical
  • A Vision of the Possible: Pioneer Church Planting in Teams – Daniel Sinclair
  • Planting Churches in Muslim Cities: A Team Approach – Greg Livingstone
  • Lambs Dancing with Wolves: A manual for Christian workers overseas – Michael Griffiths
  • The Whole World Guide to Language Learning – Terry Marshall
  • Pilgrims of Christ on the Muslim Road – Paul-Gordon Chandler (also a biography of Mazhar Mallouhi, Sufi Muslim follower of Christ)
  • From Seed to Fruit: Global Trends, Fruitful Practices, and Emerging Issues Among Muslims – J. Dudley Woodberry
  • Demolishing Strongholds: Effective strategies for spiritual warfare – David Devenish
  • Through Her Eyes: Perspectives on Life from Christian Women Serving in the Muslim World – Marti Smith
  • Miniskirts, Mothers & Muslims – Christine Mallouhi (on women living honorably in Muslim cultures)
  • Third Culture Kids: Growing up among worlds – David Pollock & Ruth Van Reken
  • Raising Global Nomads: Parenting abroad in an on-demand world – Robin Pascoe
  • Serving as Senders – Neal Pirolo
  • Peace Child – Don Richardson (New Guinea)
  • Evidence Not Seen – Darlene Deibler Rose (New Guinea)
  • Through Gates of Splendor – Elisabeth Elliot (Ecuador)
  • More to be Desired than Gold: a collection of true stories told by Christy Wilson – Christy Wilson (Afghanistan)
  • Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Dens – Jackie Pullinger
  • Tales of Persia – William McElwee Miller (Iran)
  • A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael – Elisabeth Elliot (India)
  • There’s a Sheep in my Bathtub – Brian Hogan (Mongolia)
(Note: some of the books listed below are biographical, others are works of fiction. Some may contain intense themes.)

  • Baghdad without a Map (and other misadventures in Arabia) – Tony Horwitz (Middle East)
  • Three Cups of Tea – Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin (Pakistan/Afghanistan)
  • A Year in Provence – Peter Mayle (France)
  • The Chosen – Chaim Potok (Orthodox Jewish culture in America)
  • Pursuit of Happyness – Chris Gardner (homeless culture)

Have we missed some outstanding books on cross-cultural topics? I’m sure! Leave us a comment with your recommendations below and help us build the booklist.

5 Responses

  1. Nigel Ring
    Nigel Ring / 8-7-2013 / ·

    Can I recommend a couple of books:
    Foreign to Familiar by Sarah Lanier is a very good introduction to cross cultural issues. It categorises cultures by Hot and Cold Climate. This is not directly to do with weather but does show the difference between very relational cultures (‘hot’) and very task-driven ones. at the end of each chapter is a summary list of the points raised. A short, easy (but challenging!) read.
    When helping hurts by Corbett and Fikkert. The theme is in the title. The book focuses on the damage that short term teams can cause and uses this as a vehicle for teaching ‘good practice’ ie sensitivity to the host situation etc. Much thought provoking stuff!

    Finally, WELL DONE getting this blog up and running. A valuable resource. Thanks.

  2. Grace
    Grace / 8-9-2013 / ·

    Thanks Nigel! Your encouragement means a lot. I’ve heard “When Helping Hurts” recommended by several people, but haven’t gotten my hands on it yet. Look forward to reading both of these one day soon.

  3. Sue Lyndon
    Sue Lyndon / 8-13-2013 / ·

    Almost French by Sarah Turnbull is an enjoyable read of an Australian girl who makes her home in Paris.

  4. Breanna
    Breanna / 11-18-2013 / ·

    I heard that it has been proven the much of “Three Cups of Tea” was actually made up by the author, although he presents it as his biography. Many say he has mismanaged donated money and used it on himself.

  5. Grace
    Grace / 11-22-2013 / ·

    Hi Breanna. Thanks for weighing in! I’ve heard similar things, though mostly aimed at his later book I believe, and the accounting practices, as you say. Much of the problem seems to stem from an oversimplified approach: “Go to village, buy bricks, give money… school!” Of course we realize the issues are much, much more complex than that. I’ve still included 3 Cups of Tea on the list because of its ability to transport you to a culture most of us don’t know much about. Perhaps it should have an * following? 🙂

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