02 October 2006

Going Tribal

My husband TVoed a couple of episodes of Going Tribal. I love studying other culturals, how they work, what makes them tick, etc., etc., etc. This particular show is about a guy who travels via foot (I feel for the poor camera-man who has to go on foot shooting all the while and heaving all that equipment) to different tribes in Africa. The episodes we saw were in Ethiopia.
Here are a couple of things I learned:
1) In the first episode, the host participated in a coming-of-age ceremony. The boy-about-to-become-man has to jump over a slew of cows in a row (I think about ten). He jumps and runs across their backs. The cows are painted with their own dung. Mmm. Pleasant. He does this back and forth twice. If he succeeds, he is considered a man. He is able to tend the flocks and marry in a few months. The host used terms to describe this such as "death" and "rebirth."
Sounds like a great metaphor to me. We go through a similar ceremony that requires death and rebirth (and sometimes involves a lot of cow bleep). On the other side, we are expected to tend the flocks (Do you love me? Then feed my sheep.) and look forward to wedding ceremony when we will be gathered with Christ into the new earth.
2) Ancillary to this, the women are whipped as part of the ceremony. Yes, whipped. They want to be whipped. Any woman who refuses the whip is shunned and considered a coward. This is especially poignant for the sisters. If they are whipped as part of their brother’s ceremony, they are considered protected and provided for by the brother if they fall into hard times. While I can’t find the whole inflicting pain a good thing, the scars that tie them to their brother and his protection reflect our wounds that tie us to Christ. Instead of being afraid of dealing with hatred in this world, as Christ promised us, we should bear these scars proudly as the women in the tribe did.
3) Each of the tribes loved being who they are. Both tribes, when showing off their best, either ceremony or fresh croc meat, made the comment that the host will never want to go back home now. He'll, of course, want to stay with their tribe. We sit here thinking, oh, those poor Africans who are not advanced. We need to bring them technology so that their lives will be good. Now don’t get me wrong. Many are dealing with malnutrition and starvation because of drought, and I think we should be involved with feeding the poor. But that doesn’t mean taking them from their lives to our lives. They love their lives.
4) It doesn’t matter where you are, boys love their farting jokes. In both tribes, the men farted and laughed at it. Big joke. Ha-ha.


michael snyder said...

That's good stuff, Heather. Lot to think about there. Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer said...

Great analogies. I enjoyed the End of the Spear (the movie) for that reason. The missionaries reached them where they were, and didn't expect them to change completely. They had to forsake things that were not of Christ, but that's the same process any of us must go through.

I like the cow bleep analogy, too.

Robin said...

The arrogance that "our" way is better is offensive to me. I guess it shouldn't be surprising, though. As I'm sitting here thinking about what you wrote...I'm realizing I do much the same. Just because "that's all I know", I guess. It's "better" b/c I understand it, it makes sense to me. I guess it's all relative in the end.

I agree with Jennifer, great analogies, and even as a believer, I wonder if any of those thoughts would've crossed my mind if I had seen this episode. Over the past year, I really have seen how, when you seek God...He IS to be found ;). Even in crazy tribal coming-of-age ceremonies ;).

And in spite of the fact "boys will be boys" :/