On Culture

After a pretty awe inspiring moment during our travels tonight., I had some thoughts on culture that I never would have expected. You see, as we travel deeper into the southern United States, I am struck by the beauty of the differences.

First, the stuff that everyone seems to know already. While Canada may have a cultural grip on being polite, the kindness and hospitality down here are pretty hard to beat. Everywhere we go, leoe go out of their way to make us feel welcome.

Not just. In the shops, either, where you might expect it, but just on the streets. People are happy to help, to give you directions, or to go out of their way to help.

I guess the biggest difference I have felt so far was in a show that we went to. It was supposed to be a variety show, with a number of acts, singers, comedians, all performing, sometimes in a medley.

Honestly, it was pretty great. A lot of very passionate people performing in front of middling Thursday audience. But you wouldn’t be able to tell. They put their heart and soul into full view of the audience.

It was just at the end of the show, when they broke out the gospel music and patriotism. I had an unexpectedly visceral reaction to it.

And that’s my fault, my own trauma to deal with. I was angry to get ‘preached at’ in a show with no warning whatsoever. That’s when I knew I needed to reflect on culture and my own biases.

To me, church was a place to go to get bullied. It was where I was never good enough, where my family never gave enough, and where I could never be enough. Here, church is family, it is a short form that connects everyone. I should have guessed when we passed multiple corners with a church on all four sides.

At this point, I can let the patriotism go. I mean, in some ways it’s even refreshing. I just can’t help but point out the irony in a song called “Only in America” which is filled with things that pretty much happen anywhere in the world.

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