For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

...but sometimes I'm just obnoxious.

We conservatives are nothing if not obsessed with the 1950's. I don't really know why  except that somewhere in our minds we have it locked in there that after the 1950's everything went to, well, you know. I started thinking about this as Spock and I were conversing about the plight of the inner city. He wanted to know how it got to be so bad. I stated the usual "soft-on-crime" stats, government corruption, etc., then I suddenly remembered something I don't think about a lot...white flight. I had to explain to him that when people who weren't white were allowed to move into white neighborhoods, the whites sold off their properties at below market value just to get away from them driving down the value of the neighborhoods and opening it up to abuse. He looked at me kinda funny. I told him that in the "good old days" at least a third of the people in his school, would not have been allowed to go to his school. In the "good old days" one of his best friends couldn't have been his friend. I didn't go further and explain that he would have been taught to hate the boy as well based solely on the boys skin color.

Ah, yes, the fabulous '50s. Life was so much better then. Everything was neat and clean. We all knew our place and stayed there. There was no messy-ness to life. As my grandmother says, "Phooey."

This reminds me of my view of my childhood with my grandparents. But, in this case, instead of the suppression of the bad memories being a good thing, it's a white-wash. Have these people been watching too much classic TV? The '50s were lousy. Sure there were some good things, there are always good things in each generation, but the fact that non-whites were treated and viewed as less than human because of their skin color should make anyone with sense take what they can from the era, and leave it in the past. Who really wants to go back to the "good old days?" Was life really better when the only people who could get anywhere in life were rich white men? The '50s did bring about a more middle class lifestyle...mostly for whites, but the problems were huge and to ignore them and hearken back to those days as the days we wish were still here, well, I just think it's kind of foolish coz we always have to qualify it with "but not the racial stuff." What else was there? Was there something bigger going on?

I've stated before, somewhere but I can't remember which post, that we have to have something to hate. It is human nature. In the 50s we hated people who were a different skin color. Now we hate people who dress differently than we do. Seriously, we do. Yesterday I was at Trader Joe's and there were five boys in the parking lot. they had their stupid pants hanging down around their hips and the whole world could see their undies. I just rolled my eyes and shook my head and wondered when this ridiculous fashion would end. But this morning I wonder something different. I wonder, if it hadn't been the grocery store parking lot, but instead the church parking lot, or better, the church lobby, what would I have thought? If the five boys were to walk into your church tomorrow morning, what would happen? I have been to churches where the unthinkable would happen. They would be told, maybe in not so many words, that they were simply not welcome here unless they would hike up their pants, change their hair, cover their tats, and remove their piercings.

While we've come a far way from the racism that plagued human history up to this day, are we not just transferring our hate to another group...any group that is different from us?

Jesus sat and ate with the dirty people. The clean religious people looked down on Him. They still do. Every time we judge someone based on their appearance, every time we forget, or in some cases absolutely refuse, to see people as in need of our Savior instead of in need of a hair cut or 1950s style clothing we step into Pharisee-ism.

Jesus did not say faith, hope and fashion, the greatest of these is fashion.

It's not an easy change to make. Obviously, I still slip back into it easily enough. But when we do, I hope we can remind ourselves just how easy it is to hate. Anyone can hate. We need to love to be considered different from the world around us. To do this we need encouragement from our pastors and Sunday School teachers. If we are listening to sermons that seem to be sound in doctrine but inevitably must include some sort of jibe or sarcastic remark about people we disagree with, can we really say the pastor is encouraging us to love? If our Sunday School teachers can't have a conversation without dragging the name of someone who disagrees with them on any issue through the mud, can we say that we will not go and do likewise? When we place ourselves under the influence of leaders who hate (I know, they never call it that) we put ourselves at risk. Always remember, we are the monkeys in "monkey see, monkey do."

I'll close, finally ;), with the words of Christ from the passage that still scares me to death...though not now because I fear that I am one of the latter, but because of how close I came to being one of the latter (there but for the Grace of God...). "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."  Are we too busy keeping ourselves safe from the "riff-raff" to do what Christ has commanded us?

1 comment:

  1. Sara, this is so powerful and oh, so true. Our country has come a long way, yet we haven't at the same time. Human nature...easily moving from one form of prejudice to another. Yes, we need Jesus!! We need Him to open our eyes and keep them open. To love above all. Thanks so much for the work you put into writing this!