Friday, November 10, 2006

What would you do if someone knocked over the a pyramid of tins in the supermarket?

Denis Lane's booklet One World - Two Minds (OMF) is a great little book exploring eastern and western ways of thinking, and critiquing both from a Christian point of view. Here's one intriguing snippet:

"if a Westerner is in a market [in an Eastern country] and drops a basket of fruit and the fruit scatters over the floor, he may find people standing around grinning at him. But to the observers, to run and help him pick up the fruit would only underline the shame he has experienced in dropping the basket in the first place. By smiling at him, his Eastern friends are saying, 'Never mind, it is nothing; you have done nothing of which to be ashamed.' On the other hand, a Westerner standing by might be feeling guilt because he did not go to help his fellow human being gather up the fruit." (p.62)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Members of 'the thing'

The quote I posted last week intrigued me for its reference to 'the thing'. It just sounds so cool; kind of sci-fi. But the actual explanation is also fascinating:

The quote is from A History of Christian Missions by Stephen Neill (2nd ed. 1986; Penguin). It comes in the context of the spread of Christianity to Norway in the late 10th century, and the explanation of 'the thing' is as follows:

A thing referred at that time to a local assembly. Neill adds this footnote:

"This sense of the word is also found in Anglo-Saxon. The Oxford Dictionary gives as the meaning in Old Saxon 'assembly for judicial or deliberative purposes, conference, transaction, manner, affair, thing, object', a definition which is in itself a brief history of the process of development in language." (p.89)