Understanding Us & Them

Understanding Us & Them

Basic information

  • Author(s):
  • Published: October 14, 2019
  • Publisher: The Calvin Press
  • Page count: 210
  • ISBN: 978-1-937555-40-5

Understanding Us & Them

Understanding Us & Them is designed to help readers build stronger communities with those who are different from themselves. It introduces the concept of cultural intelligence combined with interpersonal skills. Through stories, examples, and creative learning tasks, readers develop key abilities for engaging in good ways across lines of difference. Each reader-friendly chapter is paired with a variety of activities for personal or group learning.


Understanding Us & Them is a unique approach to understanding oneself and others in order to build relationships with people of all cultures and backgrounds. By using cultural terms, authentic examples, and exercises, readers learn how to increase their Interpersonal Cultural Intelligence (ICQ) and thus create meaningful relationships with the diverse peo-ple around them. This is a fresh perspective and a great addition to the resources for building relationships cross-culturally. -Patty Lane, Director Intercultural Ministries, Baptist General  Convention of Texas, author of A Beginner’s Guide to Crossing Cultures (IVP)

This book is funny, and candid, and oh-so-practical;  a much-needed resource for groups who want to develop real relationships across lines of difference. Dr. Dykstra-Pruim knows what she’s talking about—as a teacher, an academic, a Christian, a mom, a person who longs for con-nection in an increasingly fractured world. These practical lessons offer hard-won wisdom, deep insights, and actual ideas for gaining the skills of interpersonal cultural intelligence. This book is for anyone who wants to connect meaningfully with others, which is a critical, faith-filled call-ing for each of us. These pages will be bookmarked, underlined, and dog-eared in no time! -Rev. Kate Kooyman, Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America

Weaving theory and practical application seamlessly together,  Under-standing Us & Them  offers an engaging resource on Interpersonal Cultural Intelligence for all of us. Dr. Pennylyn Dykstra-Pruim speaks with the knowledge and clarity her expertise and lived experience bring, as she guides readers through the ICQ framework with an acces-sible, encouraging voice. She pairs learning about ICQ with doing ICQ through a variety of exercises designed to foster community and build relationships. Engaging with others in this small group work takes our understanding of Cultural Intelligence to the next level. By turning ideas into action, Dr. Dykstra-Pruim has given all of us this gift: the tools and opportunity to better understand ourselves and our neighbors. -Marla J. Ehlers, Assistant Director, Grand Rapids Public Library and Cultural Intelligence Workshop Facilitator

I have been waiting for a book like  Understanding Us & Them  for a long time. Dr. Pennylyn Dykstra-Pruim has written a book introducing “Interpersonal Cultural intelligence,” a framework born out of years of work as a faculty member and years of lived experience. More than “one more book on cultural intelligence,” this book is a “how-to” tool-kit that belongs on the booklist of every person desiring to develop or add content and activities focused on cultural intelligence. Reading this book is like having Dr. Dykstra-Pruim as a personal train-the-trainer coach. This will be my go-to book for years to come. -Dr. Michelle Loyd-Paige, Executive Associate to the President for Diversity and Inclusion, Calvin University

Churches are surprised that their neighborhoods have changed right under their noses with the cultural blessings of the nations. Commu-nity meetings are more divided and polarized than ever. Family events have become the frontlines of strife and derision among members. We need help!  Pennylyn Dykstra-Pruim has done the research, supplied compelling stories, and provided interactive exercises that cultivate an atmosphere of learning, discovery, and change.  My friends, help has arrived for all of us in need of a better way of encountering, embracing, and enjoining ourselves that cultural differences are not only good for us but move us into better spaces of hope. -Dr. Reginald Smith, Director of the Offices of Race Relations and Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America


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