"Fort Worth, Center Of The Universe"
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"Fort Worth, Center Of The Universe"

And the prejudicial dangers of such statements.

"Fort Worth, Center Of The Universe"
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“We believe Fort Worth to be the cultural and spiritual center of the universe….”

The crowds cheered as the spotlights swung over them and a series of fireworks exploded in a flash above the indoor arena. And so began the 2017 Fort Worth Rodeo.

The usual calf-roping, bronco riding, barrel racing, and bull riding governed the arena below while cotton candy and popcorn vendors wove among the hundreds of spectators. Most heads were adorned with cowboy hats and most hands with cups of beer.

When the lady at the Rodeo called Fort Worth the cultural and spiritual center of the universe, I felt a little pang of fear which lingered throughout the show. So many different cities, religions, cults, peoples have claimed to own that same center of the universe.

I have no doubt Fort Worth is a varied and cultured city. The same day of the rodeo, in the morning, we visited the Kimbell Art Museum to view a Claude Monet art exhibit. The entire city is dotted with museums, art galleries, restaurants, elegant architecture, and visited by word class musicals and concerts. But so are a million other cities in the world, which debunks the cultural half of the rodeo comment.

No city or country is the center of the universe nor the world. Seems obvious, I know, but what I warn against is not this statement but the thinking behind it. It’s the kind of thinking that goes beyond patriotism and enters into the state of mind that says that your way is the best way and others would do well to follow it. It’s the kind of thinking that results in Romans imposing their ways on tribes through oppression, Europeans forcing Catholicism and European lifestyles on Mexican and South American natives through violence, Pioneers requiring North American natives to attend their European-style schools in order to learn the “civilized” way of life.

Such thinking is also closely connected with the opposition to difference. Our way is best. Your way is different than mine so it’s not as good, and for you to be in the right [and therefore fully acceptable to me], you must change your ways to mine.

I’ve seen it firsthand a hundred times.

“Wow. Somebody needs to come to this country and teach them about fashion.”

“Why do they eat so late here? Our eating schedule back home makes way more sense.”

“Salty breakfast foods? I’ll pass….”

“If they want to be here, they should learn our language. I don’t care if they’re just visiting or staying.”

All statements I’ve heard in different countries.

And we wonder why we have such a problem with prejudice. It’s fine to have a preference. I have my favorite places, traditions, habits, foods, languages, but that doesn’t meant they’re the best. And if someone comes along who acts or thinks or speaks differently, then I don’t have a problem with it.

I don’t claim any one place the center of anything. Jesus himself said to the Samaritan woman that soon people would worship him not on the Samaritan’s mountain nor in the Jew’s temple, but everywhere (John 4:21). So that debunks the spiritual aspect of the lady’s comment.

I don’t know what the Rodeo lady’s agenda was. Maybe she just meant to be patriotic. But I nonetheless warn against the thoughts that can potentially underly such statements, and the power such words can obtain if repeated often enough.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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