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Monday, November 10, 2014

Hispanic Culture: Pasión (de corazón).

Another characteristic of Hispanic culture, one which is often misunderstood is "pasión" or passion. This is not limited to what we associate with romance (After all the Spanish language is part of the Romance languages) but more in general and how they embrace life. This "pasión" or passion can be seen in many ways. For example, in social settings Hispanics tend speak loud, listen to loud music and interact in a very lively manner. It is not rude to talk over each other or to have lively debates or discussions. This is not offensive. It comes out of their passion for life. It can also be seen in sports like futból (soccer). Their passion is evident, some to the extent of giving up anything (like church) for it (in America there is passion for sports as well but in my opinion it's not an overall personal trait).

Hispanics are people of the heart. From early in life, Hispanics are fostered to
think not only with their minds but with their hearts ("con el corazón). Emotion or passion is part of it as well. "Novelas" (soap operas)  are successful in Latin America, much because of the passion that's involved. There are strong emotions and drama which attracts Hispanics even if the same plot repeats over and over in each new one.

Hispanic's passion can be often misunderstood by the American culture. It can be seen as unbalanced when it is especially expressed in discussion or where convictions are involved. They can be seen as pushy or intolerant when they express their views in a very forceful way. This is not the case. This is just a reflection of where their heart is and what they consider important.

When reaching out to Hispanics to share the Gospel it is important to show passion. A Hispanic who sees a person passionate about what they believe sends a strong message. It shows them that this is something valuable. When presenting the invitation to believe in Christ, it should be communicated that this is done "con el corazón" (with the heart). They understand what this means. Our Christian services should have lively worship that engages the heart and shows our love for Christ (Should this not be the case with all those who believe in Christ? After all we have the best news anyone could hope for), preaching that comes from the heart which often involves good stories that they can relate to. However, we don't want to substitute "pasión" and good story telling for truth either. God's truth should be presented in a dynamic fashion and never substituted for a feel good presentation. Dynamic interaction in the congregation is also necessary. Being passive is not an alternative to reach out Hispanics.
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