Pictures tell stories, great pictures tell great stories. I take a fair number of pictures, but only a few really tell a story. This is not an ordinary home in Thailand. It is an upscale traditional house, in this case used as a model home as part of an estate that manufactures pottery and then hand-paints exquisite designs on the pottery. Both the pottery and the house are an example of cultural adaptation, that is, of maintaining a sense of history while repositioning for the current times.
I have become intrigued by the differences and similarities between cultural contextualization and cultural adaptation. Contextualization looks for bridges and windows that allow for new ideas to be brought into the culture, often focused on traditional norms within the culture. Adaptation, in this context, is the process of growing the culture to face new events and developments that disrupt the traditional culture.
Smart phones and computers are not traditional in any culture! So each culture that has embraced the new technology has adapted the culture to these new things. Likewise, an event, such as the arrival on the proverbial stage of a new superstar, or the death of a beloved figure in society, can trigger a process of adaptation. I have studied and taught principles of contextualization; now I am eager to add to contextualization the pattern, even the goal, of adaptation.
Recently, a friend from Latin America took me to a Japanese-inspired dessert café for a cup of coffee here in Thailand. I was impressed. It was the middle of the afternoon and the place had a wait. This was not a new café with the typical crowd checking out the new flavors. They have been around for 11 years or so, and have multiple locations. So Japanese ice-cream and dessert pancakes (the words are not adequate) packaged by Thai students at the university in such a way that the business survives and thrives in Thailand! The café is neither traditional Japanese not traditional Thai - yet it has succeeded! This is contextualization and adaptation. Taking a "foreign" idea, introducing it into the local community, in such a way that the local community embraces the idea as their own.
That's what we want to see with the Hope of Jesus Christ.