Monday, June 3, 2013

We get to make our own culture, bit by bit.

I loved this speech by one of my favourite authors- it resonated with my experiences as a South African woman, and also as someone (like many of us) who lives much of the time across culture.

One of my favourite parts of the speech is about the formation of culture. As Adichie says, culture is constantly evolving; people make culture. That is, culture is no excuse for bad behaviour (Jacob Zuma, anyone?). I wonder how culture-making works in the day-to-day. I wonder what culture we get to make, and how: South African culture? Our own weird mix of culture? Korean culture? American culture? I don't know. In the messiness of relationships with extended family and friends, I think one navigates these waters slowly and carefully, as best one can.

Probably the most profoundly life-transforming thing I am learning from Jesus is that one does not have to seek after power to get a good life. Unfortunately similar rhetoric has been used through the ages to keep people in slavery or otherwise in chains-- that's definitely not what I mean. What if that rhetoric was turned upside down? That the powerful (that's you and me) relinquish power (for example, in the day to day- by giving our money away, not spending money, not trying to live up to "our potential") to become whole and healthy?

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