Well Mannered

10 12 2009

One of the things that I keep thinking about is the difference in manners. Are manners good, bad or purely cultural? If you go to visit someone in the area where we were in Lebanon, and they’re just about to go out or are very busy doing something, they drop everything to welcome and attend to you. Here, we’re more likely to say we’re sorry but we’re going out, and make another arrangement.

Actually, it’s very rare in the UK for us to drop in anywhere unannounced. We’re too busy, not in the habit of informal socialising, and we’re desperate to grab some “me” time if we get the chance. On the whole we lead disparate lives from our neighbours and peers, whereas in Lebanon (my vast experience gives me the authority to say this) lives seem to be much more entwined, resulting in much more people contact.

It gave new meaning to the verses in the Bible which tell us that Jesus took himself off early in the morning to pray. He’d have to if he was ever going to get space away from people.

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2 responses

23 12 2009
John Thomson

Manners do reflect culture, however culture is not neutral. Every culture is corrupted by sin. Some cultures may be more corrupted than others. More precisely, each culture will have some aspects that sin has corrupted and some that the restraining grace of God has kept relatively pure.

In our culture, individualism, consumerism, materialism and humanism have pervaded and shaped cultural life.

We need to look at aspects of culture and ask as christians whether we need to act counter-culturally to be faithful to the gospel. Every christian in every culture needs to do this.

23 12 2009
feemail

I like it.

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