Lots of friendly people, lots of eye contact, and everyone calls you "honey" or "dear." And we're the ones with an accent, and we make it difficult for some people to understand us. That's a change of pace. The other notable cultural difference is a little more difficult to describe--the navigational cues are different. Things you expect to see as markers to help you get a sense of a place are just slightly different from what we're used to in Stoughton.
Staying at a hotel downtown, it was very quiet arriving in the city on MLK Jr. Day. It's widely observed here, and many stores and other places are closed. The drive over to Birmingham Southern College is nice. I didn't realize Birmingham is officially in the mountains.
I spent the day at the United Methodist Center in a class with Will Willimon and fifteen pastors from around the country. It's awesome to be able to sit each day for eight hours for a week straight and simply talk about Theology for Preaching. What a blessing!
I'm the only Lutheran in the class. Whenever this is the case, I'm reminded once again of how Lutheran I really am. Not in any kind of hostile or competitive way, but it just means we reflexively think differently about some things, and that comes out in the conversation. Had a chance today, for example, to talk about Deus Absconditus, performative utterances, and the catechism.