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Posts Tagged ‘anthropology’

Look at this photo carefully

Ryanair defends use of “sky oars” in new sub-economy Galley Class

Ryanair has robustly defended the introduction of ‘sky oars’ in their new sub-economy class. Each oar is operated by a row of three passengers and the designer, Patrick from Marketing, thinks they could help propel the aircraft. Stripped to the waist and heavily manacled, passengers in the new ‘Galley’ class can expect to save up to 20% on the price of a ticket.

Having flown from Belfast to Luton this evening with Ryanair competitors easyJet, I found this quite hilarious. You have to read the whole article, especially to appreciate this punch line:

… it is nice to be able to whip the customers again.

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News from England would make you sick! Heatwave health alerts and hosepipe bans indeed – not in Connemara and Dingle last week!

Typical windscreen view on 6 day camping trip

Now get get me wrong, the West of Ireland is amazingly beautiful – it’s just that the soft refreshing rain comes from hauntingly atmospheric grey clouds that tend to inhibit one’s view of stunning mountain and coastal landscapes.

However there were definite highlights!

1. Our new wee tent was more than capable of withstanding the wind and rain that swept across Renvyle Strand last Saturday night as we slept in it for the first time: thanks to advice from old friend Craig at Outdoor Concepts!

Ruth reading at our tent - and Philip Saunders!?!

2. Sharing part of our trip with Philip & Heather Saunders – and The Famous Bongo! Good conversation, a shared damp experience, coffee & cake in Leenane, a meal out in Renvyle House Hotel [rather good and not too expensive], poetic texting…

Thanks, Heather, for the photography - of us & the Bongo!

3. The One Good Day – weatherwise – when we took a walk along the south side of Killary Harbour, a deep sea inlet sometimes described as Ireland’s only true fjord, with Mweelrea looming over us on the northern shore and miles of salmon fisheries on the southern. Then there was the abandoned village of Foher; the impressive retaining wall of the Famine Road built by Famine sufferers in the 1840s in return for food handouts; the house in Rosroe harbour where philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) lived and worked for six months in 1948; the very pleasant walk over Salrock Pass in the sunshine – and the scenery, not to mention the prospect of a coffee shop wherein to rest tired feet!

Windswept tree with curragh & sheep | Killary Harbour

Sun & shade over Killary Harbour

4. Interesting people: all campers are equal on a wet campsite – no hierarchies, no us and them [except perhaps between people in tents and people in luxurious camping vans – I’m not jealous!], your next tent neighbour may be a philosopher or an old hippie who strums his guitar over breakfast and parks his rusting vehicle very close to your guy ropes [did we annoy him by pitching our tent too close to his?] or an amazing sexagenarian Dutch couple on a 12 week cycling trip or a Manx biker originally from Liverpool or a young European couple who offered to help us put up our tent on our first night and whose own tent was flattened next morning by the overnight wind  – or who knows?

5. Getting away from it all! TV, internet, Facebook, workaday stresses… a warm home, comfy bed, a fully equipped kitchen… Stop it!

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First a few reflections from yesterday – Investing in the Poor:

We preach Christ by valuing the minority and marginalised communities.

By this will all men know that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.

We are called to be a blessing.

This was the morning I had been looking forward to all week… not! I had sat and listened to four excellent devotionals – and now it was my turn. My subject: Unity, Diversity, Partnership – and You.

Me doing an unconscious impression of Eddie speaking

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that was made. John 1:1-3

God created birds – in great diversity; languages in great diversity – over 6,000 of them; God’s creation exhibits both unity and diversity. Just think of the diversity that God has achieved with the human face – the absolutely amazing diversity of a roundish blob that has two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth!

We looked at a quiz that illustrated the diversity of God’s church worldwide today. God’s church is growing but not all of it perhaps in ways familiar to our church – whatever that might look like.

But what about the unity, or lack of it, in God’s church? Do we struggle with this? What do we do about it? Whatever… let’s be encouraged by the promise of church unity in Revelation 7:9.

1 Corinthians 12 is the classic analogy of the church as a body – and a classic example of unity in diversity with all the parts working together in partnership. This teaching is crucial to Wycliffe members who cannot exercise their God-given gifts without the prayer and financial support of a sending church. Yet the whole body benefits as we carry out our roles whether in linguistics or literacy or IT or finance or recruitment and as we do, our supporting church is involved in a myriad of stories in many nations of the world.

Preparing to speak in Saintfield Road recently, I noticed afresh in verse 28 that the list of gifts included teaching and administration – the two gifts that God has used throughout my 22 years with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

In conclusion I asked some questions:

  • What do I have that is unique? Is that uniqueness useful or is it a hindrance?
  • How do I react to people with values different to mine? Are these differences biblical or cultural?
  • What effect would this have on me living cross-culturally?
  • Where do I fit in the world of partnership? Am I a team player? Am I prepared to accept a role in the team other than what I want to do?

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The “scenery people” are for example those that we photograph during our vacations. We see them as decoration or objects on display, not as real people. We do not care whether the photo we are taking respects their dignity or not.

The “machinery people” are those that we expect to function in a certain way, but again we do not see them as real people. For example, the gas station attendant or the cashier. On a good day, we might see them as people and connect in some personal way, but most of the time we treat them as “machinery” not as people.

The “real people” are the small group we have a relationship with and care about. We see them as people with individual personalities, emotions, opinions, gifts and needs. On bad days we might expect even people in this group to just function and not require any “maintenance”: such as the burlesque husband coming home from work in the evening who expects his wife to have a meal ready, as well as the newspaper and the slippers, and be left in peace to watch TV by his children because he is tired. In this case he does not see his wife and children as people and does not treat them as such. They are not allowed to have needs.

Some thought provoking stuff here from Jutta – and not just for cross-cultural overseas living!

In all these examples, there are people who want to be seen as people and treated as people which is in contradiction to many of our Western habits and laws of efficiency. The Western habit of just saying “Hi!” and walking by clashes with the African understanding of politeness. Africans would probably never consider a time spend with other people a “waste of time.”

Should people ever be a waste of time in any situation?

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