Traditional Culture Unites Us (1.14.14)
I gladly attended the Friday night portion of the Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture's fourth annual winter fest held this past weekend in Montpelier Vermont.
The Revelers from Southwest Louisiana were put to work in several ways. They played traditional Cajun music. They brought a chef who partnered up with the New England Culinary Institute to serve up fresh pork in a brown sauce.
And then they taught central Vermont, on the third floor of city hall, how to two-step.
It was packed with friendly people, still fighting to be human, still reaching beyond themselves, still seeking a kingdom come culture (please prophesy Vermont).
It was a community thing, a redeemable thing, a peaceful and hopeful thing.
It felt like "church" when church is so good it doesn't feel like church.
The credo of the Summit School is ahead of the times and right on time: "Promoting cross-cultural understanding and connecting with our American Heritage through music and dance.
There is something so necessary to the phrase "connecting with our American Heritage" for us in the good old USA in our modern day. It'a as if we have sloughed off the couch into being the world's dominant culture, but in doing so we risk losing our own national and cultural roots, our own regional American identities and cultures, and the culture and history of our own land.
(What's left in the "melting pot" if what is distinct and good melts away?)
Traditonal culture is vital to every nation and people group to understand itself, where it came from, and where it wants to go.
Here are four aspects of traditional culture, all of which were in evidence in Montpelier Vermont this past weekend:
- it connects us to each other, to the land as ours, to our common agrarian, artistic, and spiritual heritage, and returns us to the idea of time and place, and our common shared experience whereby life, and all its joys, and our "productivity", are not primarily defined by consumption;
- it teaches neighborliness and the golden rule.
- it's multigenerational and rejoices in children and youth, but still respects the wisdom of the elders;
- it values individuals and their God given rights, but also seeks out and upholds community values.
Stanley Knick, a cultural anthropologist at University of North Carolina at Pembroke, wrote an article published in the Huffington Post: "Traditional Culture And Modern Culture: Man's Fall From Grace." (7.26.10)
He notes that one of the big problems for us moderns is that we tend to separate our business life from our personal-spiritual life:
"We learn to compartementalize our lives. During the week we can be shrewd business-makers in a competitive marketplcae where there are happy winners and tragic losers. On the weekend we can go to church or temple and ask forgiveness for out transgression, and then go back on Monday and start all over again."
In traditional culture, what we do for work and how we do it is not separate from our personal lives, from our neighbors, from our deepest values, from our decisions as to how to live, and from the source of our highest inspirations.
Anyway, I saw and heard and experienced the value of traditional music and culture last Friday in Montpelier, Vermont at Summit School's "Spice on Snow" Winter Fest.
I'm thinking there is going to be so much more grace to come through this pioneering school that connects us with each other and with our shared American Heritage.
more info, tickets and schedule, with many free events too
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...