KEEP ON LOVING.

1Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13)

Beautiful words, aren’t they? Some may even be surprised they come from the Bible. There are people that don’t realize there are two parts of the Bible, a historical half and an application part. I always like to point to the fact the ugly parts of the historical being included as being signs of how true the Bible is. If all those who put the Bible together wanted was a positive point of view without any negative parts for people to point fingers at, they would have left the Old Testament out.

But more about those words up there. I have a friend visiting the south this week. A stranger to this country and especially this part of the world. Southern Hospitality has reined and dispelled some naysayers to how Americans are, and how Southerners might be. I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t get adopted into a family here before she makes it to the airport for her trip back home.

As a Christian, living in the Bible Belt of the nation, I like to think some of the verses above seep into the culture. Even those not attending church, not reading or believing the Bible, are exposed to the behavior of Christians. Some say these characteristics are only basic polite gestures. If so, then why don’t all parts of the world do the same? I’m not saying all parts of the world don’t have nice people, every part of the world does have nice people.

What I’m saying is, here in the South we have this culture of politeness and respect for one another that even the young get eventually. They like to act a certain way in front of their friends but once away from them, they slip into the polite culture. They KNOW how to act.

Or perhaps it’s that they act that way around adults who don’t jump to a conclusion about them. Perhaps it’s to those adults that treat them with respect and pleasantries they will reciprocate. If anyone can find fault in the words above, well, it would be interesting.

Just because we have a loved one in prison does not mean they cease to exist. And as for those suffering, have you not suffered in some way that you cannot empathize?

The scripture at the beginning of this post are the first verses of Hebrews Chapter 13. As some of you who have read me long enough may know, I don’t like the chapter divisions of the Bible.

The end of Hebrews Chapter 12:

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

The above is the paragraph right before the paragraph I started off the post with. I like to show previous verses at times to show context and how one leads into the other.


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The Southern Gentleman: Definition of a lifestyle. Definition of a Philosophy.

Many people have heard of it, but what is it? If searching for a definition you will find a varied selection of opinions, some even by those living in the South. There will be similarities of the obvious. I thought I would take a moment to give a few of my own thoughts seeing as how I characterize myself as a Southern Gentleman.

An obvious requirement would first for one to have been born in the southern United States. This excludes anything west of the state of Louisiana, that being the state where New Orleans is located. Being born in a southern state does not mean you are born as a Southern Gentleman nor does it guarantee you will become one, but there is a great chance that you will acquire many of the required characteristics simply by soaking up the atmosphere around you.

Being this is in part a definition of me, I will focus on those characteristics that seem to be to the fore front in myself or perhaps what I see as those aspects I strive to achieve. These characteristics include; Romanticism, Courtesy, Respect, Learning, and Awareness. Be aware that there is a difference between a Gentleman of the Old South Southern Gentleman and the New South.

Although some of the more genteel characteristics are shared between Old and New there are some of the more intellectual and philosophical ones that differ greatly. I will not dredge up the errors of the past in that I did not live in that age, although I experienced some of the hangover from it.

  • Romanticism: The Southern Gentleman is a romantic to the core. He looks upon God’s deliverance of woman as the pinnacle of all creation ever to occur in the universe. She was created as the only true companion of man and thus artfully designed to be admired in all ways by man. This includes not only form, but function and intellect as well. The Southern Gentleman sees the miracle in the shape of an eye and the elegance of hand. The heart of a Southern Gentleman is in a constant state of upheaval and turmoil in the awe inspiring majesty of the master artist.
  • Courtesy: The Southern Gentleman holds doors for ladies, the elderly, and man alike. It is not uncommon that once a door is held open for the Southern Gentleman to remain in position for several people that he doesn’t even know. He will also quicken his pace in order that a woman will not need open a door herself, even if he does not know her. This extends to stepping forward and bagging groceries for the elderly or the woman with a child. We take grocery carts from ladies, the elderly and the child laden once they are emptied at cars so the people will not have to make the trip themselves. A smile and a nod of polite greeting are nature even for those never met.
  • Respect: The Southern Gentleman respects the dignity of Human Life. Once not a prerequisite but now something of obviousness, the Southern Gentleman sees mankind as mankind, not kinds of man. The human race is the human race not races of humans. We recognize the greatness of the various and readily give open admiration for those warranted.
  • Learning: Intelligence, knowledge, and understanding are of great importance to the Southern Gentleman. Not only do the three lead to wisdom but also comprehension of the world and its various cultures. He is not one who is tolerant, no. The Southern Gentleman is one who understands and respects. Tolerance is a different word and gives one a sense of a lack of respect and understanding. “I tolerate you, but don’t like you.” The Southern Gentleman says, “I understand and respect you, and I love you as God’s creation and an intelligent being, but I may still not agree with you.”
  • Awareness: The Southern Gentleman is aware of the state of society and the feelings and emotions surrounding him. With a glance he will be able to deduce a problem. He is in tune with the mood of the moment. Even by listening or reading a choice of words he can determine what kind of day you have had and know how to go from there.
  • Empathy: Many of the characteristics would not serve one as a Southern Gentleman without the ability to feel for the person in moments of need and then respond as needed. He has a heart that is worn on his sleeve thinly veiled, but easily found.

 

Some may say that they match the characteristics but there is more to it than just that. There is that indescribable something that permeates a Southern Gentleman. Perhaps it is the easy way in which it all comes together. Or maybe it is just the slow southern accent that makes it all something special. The Southern Gentleman doesn’t rush the world. And the world knows not to rush the Southern Gentleman.

As you have read this, and now that it’s complete, you may have a better understanding of me. I was raised in the Magnolia state. And although I live in another Southern state now, known for Gone with the Wind, in truth Magnolia is about as Southern as you can be.

 

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Maw Maw’s Lovin’

Maw Maw’s Lovin’

by: Ronovan

 Maw Maw

“Down home Southern cooking can’t be beat.

It makes us well rounded from our head to our feet.”

 

That may not be an actual saying down here in the South. By the South I mean the losing side of the Civil War in the US. Although I consider that loss to be winning in the grand scheme of things, don’t you? But that saying fits because of grandmothers in kitchens across these Southern states.

 

For me a celebration was any meal my MawMaw cooked. MawMaw would be Southern for Grandmother for those trying to speak the language, Southern that is. I’m looking at my New York and Ohio friends out there.

 

As a kid you sat either at a card table or at the coffee table. Be slow and it was the coffee table in front of the TV. Quicker and you were closer to seconds of the good stuff. You picked your preference. I didn’t watch TV.

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A Nod and A Smile: Southern Culture

There are different customs in different parts of the world. In the South, that is the southern United States, we nod and smile when passing someone in a store, on a sidewalk, in a parking lot, or in a hallway. Visitors or transplants from other areas have difficulty at first wondering if they know the person and are just being rude having forgotten their name. But no, it’s just our way.

Why do I nod and smile, or at least smile? For one thing, I’m a Southern Gentleman, and for another I am acknowledging that upon making eye contact that you are a human being of worth and that I have no ill will toward you. I don’t know where you are from, your history, or anything about you, but for that moment we are two equals who share a clean slate with one another. It’s a greeting and agreement rolled into one meaning that I mean you no harm and I expect to receive the same treatment in return, not the smile and nod.

So if you are ever down South as they say and someone nods and smiles, then nod and smile back and venture onward. You didn’t forget their name and 99 times out of 100 they aren’t flirting…maybe.