1) It is a means of stating superiority. ‘I am rich!’ only means something, socially, if there are people who aren’t.
2) ‘I am rich!’ only means something, socially, if it is clearly visible that you are. Adorning ourselves with Designer labels is one means of providing evidence for this claim.
3) It’s difficult to prove we’re rich by owning things we need anyway (like basic food, water, clothing, etc.) Being wasteful and extravagant is a means of proclaiming ‘I am so rich, I buy shit I don’t even need boi! ahahaha!’ (I added the enthusiasm.)
There is much about this thing we call faith or God or church or community that is about comfort. About helping us to move…
From those places in our lives which feel broken towards a sense of wholeness;
From the a sense of guilt towards forgiveness;
From sorrow and sadness towards wisdom and understanding.
From loneliness and aloneness and self-centeredness to community and connection and generosity.
And, all of that is good.
And as it should be.
But there is also something about this thing we call faith or God or church or community that is about discomfort. About being vulnerable enough and daring enough to take off our blinders and to see our lives and the world as they really are and then courageous enough to imagine how it could be or should be or how God intends it to be. To be vulnerable enough and daring enough to step…
Beyond what is comfortable;
Beyond what is safe;
Beyond what is practical;
And to do our best to do something to make both life and world more as God intends.
To recognize the other met unexpectedly along the road…
Whoever and wherever and however that happens for us…
And to extend mercy and to practice compassion.
Bonnie Gordon tells this story.
(As with all good stories, I may not have all the facts exactly as they were, but in telling it again the story nevertheless continues to be true.)
At the end of a week of building homes in Nicaragua when individuals and groups are asked to reflect on their experience, a man held up a pebble and talked about how, after sifting sand for the mortar and walking along roads that are always dusty and mixing incredible amounts of cement, he would get pebbles in his shoe and how annoying and frustrating and uncomfortable that was. But, now, as he was about to go home…
Back to where it was clean and comfortable and safe…
Back to where there was no lack of running water…
And even hot running water…
And food…more than enough…
He was beginning to understand.
And because of that he was going to take his pebble home with him…
And, on occasion, to put it in his shoe…
So, he would remember.
There is something, is there not…
About this thing we call faith or God or community or church…
That is about discomfort.
About seeing the lives of others as they really are;
And seeing the world as it really is for far too many of our sisters and brothers;
And realizing God intends something more.
And that we have some part to play.
And so I wonder…
To help you remember, what pebble do you put in your shoe?
1) It’s crazy. The upper classes in England would occupy themselves with opulence; sumptuous dinners, gallery visitations, the collection of antiques and a myriad of many other such shallow occupations, and these same people would go to church and sing praises to the lord whilst ignoring the poverty that enveloped them. Spiritual impoverishment didn’t escape them however.
2) It’s crazy. The wealthiest among the white southerners in the south would scourge and mutilate the colored men and women in the plantation; yet these same people would go to church and sing praises to a middle-eastern man by the name of Yeshua Ben Yosef whom history and their own prejudices had molded into a white man. Man made God in his own image.
Years ago, when my family lived in Wisconsin, one our favorite vacation destinations was Door County. Door County is the finger of land that extends out from the city of Green Bay into Lake Michigan. If you love the outdoors, Door County is the definition of beauty. Bay on one side. Lake…
Our imaginations divide us. The thing that divides a muslim from a christian, a man from a woman, a black individual from a white one, is also the thing that, but a few decades ago, may have convinced us we were better than the ‘help’ (maids, cooks, valets, cabbies, etc.), and that still sometimes separates middle-class individuals from ‘chavs’.
"I think about how we can raise not a gentleman, opening doors for charmed thankful ladies, but a good man making sure doors aren’t shut on deserving, equal women." - David Mogolov
I found this very interesting. I’ve come across the notion that chivalry and gentlemanly behavior perpetuate misplaced idea’s about the weakness and dependence of women before.
1) “Immigrants should be stopped: They are diverting employment and tax money away from English people; England ought to be for the English.”
2) “England ought to be for us: I was born and brought up in England by my Caribbean parents; These Polish people are wasting our taxes and using our resources.”
3) “Nations and nationalities are imagined: England is a hunk of land, upon which people arrived and called it ‘England’; The ‘English’ are a group of human beings, adapted to a particular environment which produced light-skin and a restricted-population lead to other ethnic features; The names we give ourselves, such as ‘English’, or ‘Chinese’ are just that, names we give ourselves.”
4) “What gives one group of human beings the right to claim the rights to land and security over another group of human beings based on imagined notions of race and nationality? We are all human beings.”
of feelings of personal inadequacy: a heavy withdrawal in to a group identity, i.e. ‘Muslim’, ‘Christian’, ‘English’, ‘Black’, ‘Jaat’, etc. Hence, the groups perceived grievances are inherited as personal grievances and one develops a combative and confrontational attitude, also a warped and distorted perception of the world. Hence the birth of ”Soldier for Allah Amin’, ‘English 4ever Mike’, etc. These people are not to be treated with contempt, but as we would expect ourselves to be treated: gentle compassion and kindness.
A hypothesis on extremist behaviors. I’m not yet sure if it’s true.