Forest Finds
Culture Moves

In a country that is deeply polarized economically, politically and socially, extra research, awareness and energy is required to remain cognizant of how specific cultural beliefs, practices and values impact our behavior and encounters with careseekers. As we seek to learn more about those we serve through the contextual frameworks that inform their stories, it demands that we have more than a textbook understanding of cultural traits and tropes. It requires clear acknowledgement of the dynamic nature of cultural variables and how they present themselves during an encounter. This Is difficult work given we are all carrying unexamined biases that are always negotiating ethnicity, religion and race. Chaplains who demonstrate cultural humility are likely to experience growth and revelation from cross cultural experiences that can deepen their practice. In this Forest Find, culture is deconstructed and its components are connected to very specific examples for members to ponder. Share your challenges in the Forest Finds space in the community for us to journey together.

Culturally humble, always curious.

Chaplains who demonstrate cultural humility are always curious. We seek to learn more about those we serve through the contextual frameworks that inform their stories. Here are some specific cultural scenarios to ponder.

Little research exists on how spirituality is experienced by individuals in the time leading up to addiction, during active addiction, and in recovery using the 12-step model. Thus, this qualitative research study was conducted to explore the spiritual narratives of formerly observant individuals raised in the Orthodox Jewish community and engaged in the recovery process.  

Analysis of the Spiritual Narratives of Formerly Observant Orthodox Jews in Recovery

Walden University Dissertations and Doctoral Studies

Who gets to tell their stories, and whose stories are considered worthy of listening to?

The answers to these questions are bound up in systems and power dynamics that cannot be avoided by chaplains. The constructs presented in this article offer a framework to place and situate the narratives we engage within a broader context than solely that of the individual before us. 

Feminism and StorytellingFeminism and Religion 

This is a living-document of the Living-Death Doula Research in process.  Midwifing Rebirth from the Ashes of Living-Death as QueerGrief Care  for the American Academy of Religion’s 2020 Conference - Death, Dying, Grief Unit 

Queer People Embracing Death NarrativesQueer in Faith 

A study of breast cancer screening and treatment decisions suggests that risk understandings are influenced by the dominant illness narrative of restitution within Anglo-Western cultures. 

What happens when your cultural understanding of risk is rooted in another cultural framework? How does that impact your work as a chaplain in your conversations with a careseeker? 

The Cultural Construction of Risk Understandings through Illness NarrativesJournal of Consumer Research 

We often discuss the importance of crossing ethnic and racial divides in chaplaincy, but very little literature confronts the biases in popular culture narratives against poor whites. In this essay, an English professor from Spain looks at the American landscape and offers important insights. 

Stereotyping and Stigmatizing of Poor Whites in Today’s USA - Department of English Philology, Faculty of Philosophy and Letters; University of Málaga, Spain 


Cultural humility requires openness, self-critique and a commitment to lifelong learning. Where are the gaps in your humility with specific cultural/economic groups? How might you address these gaps in your chaplaincy practice and in your personal life?