Recent Posts from the Mumena Team

Monday, August 11, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Cognitive Domains

Our team wrestled for a couple of hours in our team meeting Saturday with Kaonde cognitive domains. Whatever are “cognitive domains”? We all have them, but we seldom talk about them. And if we haven’t worked with people from a foreign culture, we may not even be aware of them. We think of cognitive domains as “mental file folders for the way people perceive reality”. One doesn’t have to work in a different culture for long before one finds that our culture’s file folders are not the same as other culture’s file folders:

Axon is a Kaonde hunter. He has never seen television or read a book of fiction. So he has no file folder for “make believe”. While passing through the house one day, Noah and Bryson were watching “Jurassic Park” via video. Tyrannosaurus Rex caught his eye, and after a couple of minutes, Axon remarked, “American animals… dangerous.”


Cognitive domains have tremendous impact on the ways missionaries have to learn from the local people how to teach the Word of God. A culture hears, analyses, and learns with its culture’s current cognitive domains. The problem comes when the way God views reality is drastically different from the people’s view that we are trying to teach. Sometimes, we have to “build new file folders of reality” for our students before they will be able to understand the Kingdom of God. Of course, Satan is a master at stealing cognitive domains. If he can remove from our minds entire file folders of reality, he can hide truth very easily.


“they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God”
Ephesians 4:18 RSV


It makes you wonder how many of my own file folders might be missing!


“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12:2 RSV


Planning to share a few cognitive domain stories over the next few weeks,

Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: Noah and Bryson hunting “not-so-dangerous” poultry with Axon.

No comments: