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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday thoughts

I have friends and relatives from all over the world.  One thing I've noticed is that when getting together, people like to compare and contrast the differences between them. What has really fascinated me though, is how absolutely sure that their way is better than our way (understand, that I believe this also applies to "my people" believing that our way is better than someone else's). I believe that we are all a product of our upbringing, modified by our life experiences.  Underneath it all, and generally speaking, I believe that we are all pretty much the same.

The other night, at a function, a person from another country made mention of "how loud Americans are".  I knew by the way this person said it, that being loud was less preferable to being quiet. I've heard Americans laugh at Soccer vs. U.S. Football; I've heard Australians laugh at U.S. Football vs. Rugby; I've heard British people laugh at Baseball vs. Cricket. All the laughter was derisive toward the other country's sport, of course.

We just don't know that much about each other, I think. When I lived in England, I was regularly asked if all Americans carried guns (these days, that's probably a fair question). Over here, I have to grin at the people who think that the United Kingdom consists of London alone.  I spent a few months in Greece years ago, and when asked where I was from in the US, finally started telling people "Atlanta", because it was much easier to explain than "close to Chattanooga, which is in Tennessee, and that is close to Georgia, which contains Atlanta" "OH, Atlanta!" they would say, with a flicker of recognition in their eyes (but mostly, they didn't really care).

This isn't confined to international borders. People in the little town I live in look at folks from New York, Chicago and L.A. as "Yankees" - yeah, I know, not Yankees, but to some of us Southerners, anyone from north of here (north also includes west, by the way) is by definition a Yankee, and therefore, not a person to be trusted. I know some people who look down their noses at the poor rhubarbs from the sticks, with our limited world views and all, and just shake their heads ("smh", they say to themselves, in a pitying voice).

I love college football.  I love SEC football. Other people love Big 10 football (or whatever that conference is called these days). I know with absolute certainty, that SEC football is better than all the other football, but I imagine that people in say, Iowa, probably think that the Hawkeyes are inherently superior. Those people are wrong, of course (read this for a minute, {smirk}), but it shows that people are often defined by where they come from.

Final point.  I'm an Episcopalian.  I'm an Episcopalian because my Mom is English and she grew up in the Church of England which is Anglican. Therefore, I also grew up in the Church of England.  The Episcopal Church is an Anglican denomination, so it makes sense that I would become an Episcopalian when we moved to the US.  Conversely, most of the people in my little town are either Southern Baptist or Church of God.  Makes sense. Lots of Lutherans in Minnesota.  Why?  Who settled a good part of Minnesota, and what was their denomination?  If I were born in Saudi Arabia, guess what?  I'd probably be Muslim, and so would you!!!

So, all of this was to get you to watch an '80's video. Probably. I always liked Depeche Mode.

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