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Sydney Klingler Project #1 COMM2150-042-Sp14 Overview For this course project, I chose to study the values and culture

of the Evangelical Christian faith. To fully grasp the cultural aspect of this demographic I attended a graduation ceremony of an Evangelical Christian home schooling program. Through research into the religion, personal introspection, and course curriculum for this class, I have come to understand how value systems that differ from my owneven in minor waysaffect my life in a past, present, and future sense. This experience has helped prepare me for future interactions with others, regardless of varying value systems.

Religion While Evangelicalism is somewhat of a blanket title for all Christianity (religion that believes in a blood atonement of Jesus), I believe this study to be valid due to the differences between the Evangelical understanding of the scriptures and gospel, and those of my faith. The foundational idea is of salvation by service, truth, beauty, goodness, justice, humility, learning (Sprunger) to become like Christ, who is the example of how to live. The Evangelical faithas I have come to understand it through conversation with members of the faith, in addition to internet research and experiences at a cultural function for that specific faithbelieves in scripture as Gods inspired word (Seminary) and people become more like Christ as they understand the truths therein more fully.

Religious Function Despite efforts to attend various church meetings at the Cathedral of the Madeleine and the Cathedral Church of Saint Mark in Salt Lake City, I was unable to attend. For this project I will refer back to my experience and thoughts, as well as present reflection on the events presented as I see them from a more educated perspective, at my close friends home school graduation I attended at the conclusion of the 2012-2013 academic year. While attending this function, I noticed that the Bible was used to present ideas, as it is a core value for the religion. Also, the ceremony was very religious and family-oriented. The meeting opened and closed with a prayer, and the parents met their graduates on the stage when it was time for their child to receive the diploma they had all worked in their home-school setting for. The experience I regarded as the most unusual for me was the blessing on the graduates at the conclusion of the ceremony. The congregation put their hands in the air, palms forward, and sent their love and prayers to the graduates as the preacher said a blessing on the graduates, commending their work and blessing their future endeavors. A feeling of community existed wherein the families felt close enough with one another through their cultural similarities that the congregation was, in some ways, a family altogether. However, due to background knowledge about family feudsa seemingly inevitable occurrence in family and cultural unitsI recognized that some family groups did not agree with some practices other families had for the exact same core values.

Value Theory

Value Orientation of Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck

The Value Orientation theory, developed in 1961 by Florence Kluckhohn and Fred Strodtbecktwo anthropologistsuses five questions to analyze cultural influences and

differences to explain the varying degrees of values pertaining to the following: human nature, the relationship between humans and nature, the relationships between humans, the preferred activity forms, and time orientation. These five categories have value placed upon them by the culture they are being lived by, and they greatly affect the way two or more cultures may interact. It was made a point that there are usually one or two preferred responses to the five initial questions. These responses come from the beliefs that compose the basis for the cultures lifestyle, as exemplified in the textbook that religious beliefs, for example, may reinforce certain cultural values (101).

Analysis As seen in the textbook, the group oriented mindset of the Evangelical community is the middle ground between collateral and fully individualized extremes (101). This practice was not the sole focus, however, as there is also a profound stress on developing a personal relationship with God and becoming more like Jesus on a personal level, a far more individualized approach than a community mindset. Also, the emphasis on families at the home school graduationwhether biological family or people who felt like family, who had grown close through spending extensive amounts of time together during the program meetings and religious gatheringsdeveloped a unique sense of community (Seminary) where the past was reflected on (as is a core Evangelical value) and the future was looked forward to. Time orientation directly relates to the value theory and makes Evangelicalism special because rather than resting in one spot of the range of valueswith emphasis on the past, present, or future specificallymembers of the congregation taught each other through their experiences so as to teach others from their past to better prepare for the

future, as well as impart in others an appreciation for how they have gotten to where they are on (101). This example of time orientation and interpersonal relationships directly relates to the cultural traditions of many Asian and European societies where the past is emphasized, particularly in a cultural and familial setting, but the future is also looked forward to as is common in European societies (106).

Reflection While I was initially not excited about this project, I grew to be more interested in it as I chose to learn about a religion that was close to me in proximity and relation. This understanding led me to look more deeply into my own values and beliefs, while recognizing how my own are similar to those of another faith, as well as how they are different. I learned much about the Evangelical Christian faith and what it truly is in a textbook sense. Previously I had not thought of all Christianity as Evangelical, but through this study I learned how exactly my faith is related to that which I studied for this assignment. This project led me to realize that, though there were some major differences between my beliefs and my friends beliefs in the Evangelical religion, the differences between the various Christian religions are far slighter when compared to the other religions, but the differences seem so vast when two Christian religions are compared because they claim to believe in the same end result (which leads to a closer tie) while disagreeing on the process of how to get there, often resulting in hostility from what I have personally noticed over time. In the beginning I was unsure of how to relate the value theory to my experiences, but after further study, introspection, creative thinking, and reconsideration of how this experience was relevant, I learned more about the real-life application of the beliefs and values than I first did.

This project, along with personal introspection, has brought me to the realization that oftentimes subgroups (such as Evangelical and LDS practices) within a larger group (in this example, Christianity) can become caught up in the specificsparticularly in situations of religion. Even within the same congregation there can be discord regarding these same issues, as there can be in workplaces and other groupings as well. In sum, because of this assignment, in my personal and professional life I will strive to be patient with others, considerate to their values, their beliefs, and their motivations, and strive to be open-minded in regards to how others interpret experiences according to their beliefs. In return, I hope that others will show the same courtesy to each other and to me.

References Intercultural Communication in Contexts. Value Orientation. Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck (Martin & Nakayama, 2012, pp. 99-107) Seminary, E. (n.d.). Core values. Retrieved from Sprunger, M. J. (2013). #25 Belief Comparison of the World's Major Religions. Utah: Salt Lake Community College.