Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Those People

If there's one thing Paul doesn't like, it's a snob. It's too bad he married one.

I not proud of the fact, but it remains a fact nevertheless.

For example, I don't like shopping at Wal-Mart. It's not because I have a zeal for social justice or workers' rights. It's because I think that I'm better than some of the people that shop there. When I see a boy with a rat-tail yelling at his NASCAR tank-top-clad mother, I roll my eyes. I mean, really.

When I write it down it sounds as petty and awful as it is. I don't know those people. I don't know their stories, I don't know their circumstances. I make a few cursory judgments and mentally declare myself superior.

God must want to drink moonshine straight from the spout when I think like this. He uses the same adoring gaze when he looks at the rat-tailed kid that I use when I watch Joel sleep. He does not discriminate.

God does not create economic or moral caste systems. It's easy for me to declare somebody to be "Redneck" or "So Calvert County."

I choose not to adorn my bumper with plastic dangling testicles. Have I considered it? How could I not? It's a look both classic AND timeless. Yet, my bumper remains ball free. Does that mean I'm a better person? I would say "yes." God would disagree.

I do not agree that the Confederate flag is a sign of "Heritage, not hate." It seems pretty hateful to me. I can honestly say I've never taken the time to hear the other side, because I've considered myself better than those people. It occurs to me that slave owners thought they were better than those people too.

It's not up to me to do the judging. I'm sometimes the "worst kind of liberal." I'm tolerant of people, as long as they agree with me.

It's God's challenge, and my directive, to attempt to listen and understand, even when the ideas seem backward or the exterior appears rough.

Truly seeing other people as God's creation---without deciding which creations are better--may be one of the hardest things I'll ever do.

And probably one of the most important.


Coby Goesling said...

I am related (by marriage, of course) to some of "Those People." I've lived next to them, taught them, worked with them, and you know what? I am better than them, and so are you.

(Kidding. The point of this post was not lost on me.)

Anonymous said...

There are people out there who still have rat-tails?!?!


Alice said...

Nancy -

We studied the parable of the Prodigal Son yesterday at Bible Study and I had to share your story with the group. It's a beautiful modern day version of the father's reaction in that story.