“If you don’t have a destination, any road will do.” Ano
The best soil in Brazil is the terra roxa, a red soil that is found in the South-East part of Brazil and includes the states of São Paulo and Paraná. Our family got to know this land well for we travelled on those red dirt roads and even spent one night with our vehicle stuck in its wet red gumbo.
That red soil had a special influence on the people in our area for they made a living from growing coffee in those red fields. But, mind you, it marked everyone. You see, when the dirt was dry, its dust collected on clothing and left a pink tinge. My white shirts were only white in my imagination for the soil had left a bit of pink. There were times when a person could not avoid some contact with the red mud—and of course that left a stain.
So that is how I came to have a picture of pink dogs. The problem is not the film in this case though with time old slides often shift color to the red. No, these dogs would normally be white but with years of contact with the red soil they changed color. Now I don’t imagine the dogs much cared or even their owners. In any case little could be done to make them white—a chlorine bleach would be out of the question and even then it might not make them any whiter than my shirts.
As I write terra roxa, I wonder if you might like to know how to pronounce it— so here we go. The double rr can be trilled (I shall not explain that for it took us a long time to get it). But it is easily pronounced instead as an “h”. Roxa is like row-shah. We lived with dogs and white shirts with the ingredient of terra roxa added on. But a bit of pink was no big deal out in Neves Paulista. Everyone in that area lived with its influence. So there you have it. In any case, we all adapted to the red soil and that was fine for that particular culture.
But pink dogs and pink shirts would have been out of place when we lived in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo. And that comes to a point I now want to make; we all are pushed and coerced to take on the color of the culture where we live. Right this moment I’m listening to lovely Brazilian caipira music. I love this folk music with great harmony and instruments. Caipira music fits well to the culture of the interior; the big cities are something else.
Many of the pressures to conform these days demand changes that do not fit in with the Christian faith as set down by Jesus and the apostles. It makes no difference what country we live in. The pressure is always there to make us into “pink dogs.”
There are a few things we might do so that we are aware of the pressure to conform. Read the New Testament preferably every day. Then add to that recipe a good dollop of time to think about how it applies to life. More important yet is the experience of committing one’s life to Jesus Christ. I’m not going to tell you the story of the dramatic turnaround in my life the hour I gave it over to Jesus. Just this—I started out in a completely different direction. The apostle Paul describes it as becoming a “new creature.”
So don’t let the terra roxa of our culture in the world today make you into a pink dog or a pink anything else!