Different is not equal to Bad


Since I learned the word ethnocentrism from Gaylen Van Rheenan in Missionary Principles and Practice way back in college, I’ve understood that just because another culture does something differently than I do, that doesn’t make it bad.

I thought I should make a point of mentioning this since I’m writing a lot about how things are different here in the UK. My posts on Britishisms should not be taken to mean they are wrong or even silly because they use different words or have different practices.

Different Isn’t Always Culture

I try to only post things I know are actually different because they are British or Scottish, not just that they are different. For instance I haven’t posted that the shower in our flat has a very different kind of fixture than most in the US, because there are really lots of different kinds of bathroom fixtures in the US. I have mentioned how almost every intersection in Brentwood, Essex is a roundabout, which is because they are British.

Somethings Are Actually Bad

Back in MP&P we did understand that somethings were evil even if the culture approved of it. It was the missionaries job to differentiate between differences that were cultural, which meant the missionary need to change and adapt to the culture, and which things were evil in the culture and new Christians needed to change.

There is only one thing in UK I’d actually say the British were wrong about. They have no concept of a no passing zone. It’s insane given how narrow their roads are. When you come up on a blind curve in the UK, they caution you to slow down and watch for oncoming traffic “overtaking” ie. passing. In the US there would be a solid white line indicating that no one should be passing till you can see traffic in the distance. It is possible there is such an indicator, but my expat friend didn’t know of one.

Here’s what it’s like driving on a one lane road in the UK.