I am a white male. That’s what I’ve always been. That’s what I always will be. I can’t help it. It’s how God made me. If everything was equal, there would be no problem with that. But, things are not equal. I am privileged in this culture. And, God did not make me that. The systems that have been built over centuries have ensured that I would have a privileged position in society. These systems are so deeply embedded in our culture that most of us who are privileged don’t even realize that we are. It’s just ‘the way it is.’
Recently, Tony Jones, a highly educated, white guy made a presentation that rubbed some people the wrong way. One of the people in attendance,Christena Cleveland, called Tony out for being exercising his privilege. Jones responded with obviously hurt feelings. Now, at first, I didn’t see all that much that was offensive in Jones’ remarks. Shoot! I’ve probably said similar things myself! As I reflected on it, though, I became more and more uncomfortable. Then, a few days later Jones, I think in an attempt to show how egalitarian he is, posted a request for women and feminists to join in his blog. Again, an understandable response from a privileged person who sincerely believes that he is above reproach in these matters.
This morning I visited the blog of
Well, it’s been nearly a week since the news broke that Michelle Knight, Gina Dejesus and Amanda Berry had been found and released from hell. I was in the kitchen when my wife started to carry on about something. I walked to the living room and she said that Amanda had been found. We watched intently as the story of horrific imprisonment and abuse began to unfold before our eyes. Relief! The families’ hopes had been realized. Gina’s mother had been the ‘point’ of years of hope for her daughter. “Never give up hope!” became a rallying cry for her and the countless others who supported her and Amanda’s families.
I’ve got some kind of virus right now. It’s kicking my butt. So, I really am trying to take it easy. But, I was checking some of the posts out there in the blogoshpere and came by one by James F. McGrath. The only reason it jumped out at me is that I am currently reading 1984 by George Orwell. (For the first time. Ok, I’m a little behind, let it go.) Most of the time when I read fiction I find myself transported into the world that the author has created. For C.S. Lewis I find myself in Perelandra, Malacandra or Narnia. Tolkein takes me to Middle Earth. With Orwell, I find myself in Oceania. However, McGrath makes the point that “Orwell has written a book that seems like it ought to change the world.” This I find interesting. More than making a political statement, he was making a critique of society and culture at a very basic level. Classism, racism and any other social construct came under his scrutiny. I appreciate McGrath’s insight on this. I may have to re-read the book with my own worldview placed under the microscope.
My journey from conservative, fundagelical to a freeing of my inner liberal has led me to many thought-provoking sources. One of them is the blog of Tony Jones, “Theoblogy.” I have appreciated Tony’s ability to stretch me…in a good way. I have also appreciated the times that I simply don’t agree with him.
He has been on vacation that last week and has had several other individuals pinch hit. One of them is a guy named Richard Beck. Now, until yesterday, I had never heard of this person. But, I read his response to Tony’s “Questions that Haunt” series. This week Beck explained his take on loving God. His conclusion is that “To Love God is to Love Flesh and Blood.” For a blog post, this is one of the best expression of what it means to be a Progressive Christian in today’s culture. I encourage you to read it with an open heart. Allow Ruach Elohim to touch the very core of you with the love that is central to Beck’s piece.