Adapting to a new lifestyle
I got to tell you, I wasn’t born and raised Southern, but I have to admit, Uncle Sam did me a big favor by moving me out of snow country to Texas in 1969. Growing up in a rural town in Upstate New York sort of set me up to blend into the Texan culture without too much trouble because some things I already knew and lived, but some others I had to learn in order to be accepted in rural Texas.
So, to help out some of the newcomers to rural Texas, and their ill-fitting teens who are trying to change the culture but still can’t fit in the way they want, with tongue-in-cheek, I offer you ten adjustments you might consider that could bring you peace and gain respect from true Southerners.
1. Pull your droopy drawers up. You look like an idiot!
2. While you’re at it, put your hat on straight, unless your head is truly that crooked.
3. Cattle are live steaks and they smell funny because they don’t shower too often. But, they smell like money to a cattleman, so get over it or hit the road back to where you come from.
4. People wave when they meet you on the road. It’s called being friendly. Try to understand the concept.
5. Yeah, rural Texans still eat meat, taters, beans, biscuits, and homemade peach cobbler and wash it down with ice-cold sweet tea. If you want sushi and caviar, you might try the bait shop.
6. By the way, turn down that blasted car stereo. That thumpity-thump stuff you call music isn’t music anyway. People don’t want to hear it any more than they want to see your boxers hangin’ outside your droopy drawers.
7. If you’re invited to someone’s house and bring some coke with you, it better be brown, wet and served over ice.
8. And, if you bring Mary Jane with you, she better be cute, have long blond hair, know how to drive a truck and shoot a rifle.
9. August to November, or thereabouts, Friday night and Saturday afternoon is football outdoors. August thru February, or thereabouts, Sunday afternoon is football indoors. If you’re bringing the barbecue and drinks, you’re welcome (Leave your kids and dogs at home).
10. A 10-inch rain followed by a small flood is just a healthy cleansing of the land. Don’t panic and raid the grocery store. Worse case, you might have to actually stay home from work or miss going to Walmart one day. It’s still a little laid back in rural Texas, so throttle back your turbo lifestyle before you blow a gasket.
[Romans 6] I think I’d rather take a whippin’ out back of the woodshed than have to move. Moving can be as simple as across town to complicated as moving to a foreign country and some people do it with ease. And after settling into your new crib, culture shock can, and most likely will, change your lifestyle. To live in harmony in a new culture one is not familiar with, you must give up parts of your former lifestyle and adopt the lifestyle of the culture you now live in. It’s like getting married to that perfect person whom you discover isn’t and compromise sets in.
I think Paul’s message to the Romans is somewhat along these lines. God’s pardonable grace is a wonderful thing and, as a baptized member of the church, knowing my sins are forgiven is comforting indeed, but I cannot keep living the lifestyle of a wanton sinner expecting God to continue forgiving me. That’s not the culture of the church. My obedience to the oracles of God produces grace, so I must give up the things of my former lifestyle that are contrary to God’s will for me. But, I must always remember, no matter how righteous I may become, I am still a sinner in need of grace, the free gift given by God.
Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. This column will be available in the Wilson County News when space is available. Readers can also find his column on his blog at http://wilsoncountynews.com.
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