“All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes…”

Philosophers say that time is about motion and change, but life is about struggle. We struggle to survive, to grow, to find our place in a world that has lost its sense of being.

I’ve always loved this melancholy song by Tanita Tikaram. Her husky voice mixed with the haunting notes of an oboe capture perfectly the anxieties of today’s youth as they navigate a culture that no longer provides them with a sense of purpose and meaning.

Background

The first line of the song, “All God’s children need traveling shoes”, is the title of a book by writer/poet Maya Angelou.

Speaking about the somewhat obscure and enigmatic lyrics, Tikaram has offered different views on their meaning, but said it’s mostly about the particular relationship with the world one feels when entering adulthood. “The song is really about not understanding – when you’re 18, you’ve got a very particular emotional relationship with the world, you feel very isolated, and everybody else is so distant and cold. And I think I was singing about not feeling anything or not being moved by things around. I think this is a strong feeling when you’re just after adolescence.”

Malcolm Messiter plays the oboe on the song,

Wikipedia

Continue reading ““All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes…””

Culture: Where do We Go From Here?

Culture is a catch-all word that encompasses a great many categories and ideas about how human beings live. On one level, culture is about what we do every day. For example, if we leave our homes to go to work our culture is about why we go to work, how we go to work, what we wear to work and what we do at work. Our behavior and attitudes towards work are part of our culture.

Another meaning of culture is the art and ideas that a group of people produce. To be cultured, means one is familiar with and understands what is considered the best of one’s culture. 

On a more abstract level, culture explains who we are as well as our individual roles in society. A stable culture offers explanations of itself to us that are consistent and understandable. To do this effectively it must answer three fundamental questions about human life:

Who are we?
Where did we come from?
Where are we going?

An example of a cultural response to these questions is the Baltimore Catechism. It was the text used to teach young Catholics about their faith. As you can see, the first few questions from the very first chapter answers these questions in a clear and straightforward manner:

Continue reading “Culture: Where do We Go From Here?”