The Tapestry Metaphor
We have all heard or used the tapestry metaphor at one time or another: “It's like a tapestry —with many delicate threads all woven together to make a whole.” Yes, we have heard it again and again. But why not repeat it? Well, after contemplating on the sociocultural experiences I chose to study—attending a Sunday worship service at the local Nazarene church and arraignments at the Juneau Court House—I believe that a person's idea of her or his cultural self is like a tapestry. One's own life experiences and communications with others are the threads. And woven together, the experiences of one's life create a unique cultural being.
The Juneau Church of the Nazarene conducts its Sunday services much like many other churches I have attended. A pastor, associate pastor, or music director leads the service from the front of the sanctuary, each taking turns standing at the pulpit when speaking. Also up in front sits the musicians, two pianists and a guitarist. In the main part of the sanctuary sit the congregation in rows of pews. The service usually begins with a reading of scripture, church announcements, or a hymn. Then there are small orders of business, like prayer concerns, special music sung by church members, or other scripture readings. The climax of the hour-long service is the pastor's sermon, in which he preaches about some specific topic centering on the Christian doctrine. The two services I attended followed this basic outline, with little to no deviation from the bulletin.
Rather than a bulletin, the Juneau Court House conducts its arraignments according to a calendar, which is posted outside the door to indicate which cases will be addressed on a particular day. A judge or, in this case, a magistrate is also present to preside over each arraignment. During the arraignments I witnessed, the magistrate arrived, everyone was asked to rise, after which he hit his gavel, and then everyone sat. The magistrate then addressed the cases of some seven or eight Juneau Correctional Center inmates. After the prisoners left the courtroom, the magistrate went down the calendar and attended to other various cases. Knowing only the basics of the judicial process, I gathered from my observations that arraignments serve as preliminary sentencing for misdemeanors and small crimes. Those accused (by the City or State), with or without the advice of a lawyer, can plead guilty or not guilty. If they plead not guilty, a lawyer is provided (depending on qualifications based on household income), and a trial date is set. If they plead guilty, the judge allocates a fitting sentence. At the arraignment session I witnessed, there were approximately 15 to 20 cases dealt with. Some were also conducted over the phone.
Between the two sociocultural settings I witnessed, there were not very many similarities. The main similarity I observed was the reliance on a definite leader within the social structures of the two settings....