Homemade Culture

Two very distinct types of culture exist, and both are active forces in our society today. Some "cultures," while real enough in their natural context, become unnatural when imported and implanted by those who stand to gain from such an arrangement. This type of constructed culture has been used for centuries to support empires and maintain markets-and, for the most part, functions similarly to what we see on TV today.

The second kind of culture is that which springs from the fountain of everyday life-from the ceremonies families use to mark holidays and life's important milestones, to the preparation of their daily meals and the rituals that revolve around an act as simple as going to bed each evening. This culture is hecho en casa-a homemade culture that doesn't follow the preconceived channels of the "culture makers." Rather, it is living water-always flowing, growing, and, under healthy conditions, sustaining us.

This second type of culture preserves the unique identity of a people, and it is this uniqueness - in the midst of diversity - that makes a people rich.

Aaron Gallegos was a Sojourners assistant editor when this article appeared.

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