"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, November 4, 2016

Refusing to Feed Others

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I'm reading a book Discovering North Carolina which has dozens of stories, newspaper articles, and accounts about the state in which I've lived most of my life.  I found it at the twenty-five cent sale at Fifth Street Books in September, and started reading it in mid-October.  

It's divided into four sections: Environment (which includes things like how NC got its name, sailors' impressions, a visit by President Monroe, the Civil War on the Home Front, and so forth), People (an explorer-historian's description of "a well-shaped, clean-made people" i.e., the "Indians in colonial North Carolina"; Daniel Boone "who lived in North Carolina longer than he lived anywhere else"; several governors, Andy Griffith, Buck Duke, etc.), Events (the hanging of Tom Dula, visits from George Washington and Robert E. Lee, Walter Hines' attack on the "mummies" in the NC legislature, "The Camels Are Coming," and so forth), and Social Fabric ("Quarrels among the Baptists," life in the cotton mills, descriptions of a country church service, etc.)

Yesterday I was reading the latter part of the Events section about Greensboro, NC, where "The Sit-Ins Begin."  I grew up and still live about 30 minutes from Greensboro. I was there just last week when I took Zach to the Science Center where he likes seeing the aquarium, and we were able to see the tiger before his afternoon snooze.  We travel through Greensboro nearly every time we go to the North Carolina mountains, and our "local" news stations are from out that way.

I read this line in this Events story: "Still others pointed to a December 1959 episode when McNeil returned from a trip to New York and was refused food service at the Greensboro Trailways Bus Terminal." (pg. 275)

That made me so sad!  I want to think if I were a white Southerner back in those days (pre-Civil War, during the Civil War, and in 1959!) that I would treat people with respect and kindness despite the fact that they were black.  I don't see how people justified this racism. How some perhaps had the audacity to use the Bible to justify this.  Yes, quote me those verses about servants and masters. Whatever. But refusing to feed a paying customer? Making black people use separate water fountains?  Sit at the back of buses and theaters and churches?  Why?  Do you think they will give you cooties

Why do people who often say they love "the good Lord," go to church, think they are going to heaven because they are basically good or said a prayer, do these things? Do you just ignore all those teachings about loving others as you love yourself?  In honor preferring one another? washing others' feet as Jesus showed us? even loving your enemies (if you consider them such..guess what? you gotta love them if you follow Christ.)

I don't get it.

I had a very small taste of this when I went to Syria in early 2009.  We'd had a wonderful visit there, and were treated exceptionally well.  But one person - one friend who had joined us several days to walk us through Damascus neighborhoods - said something that hurt me. Even his Syrian friends looked at him like he said the wrong thing and somewhat scolded him.  I really don't think he meant to hurt us.

We'd met with several Syrians that week.  A couple had had us over to their houses or taken us out to eat. This particular guy had joined us many times, but unlike a couple of others, he'd not had us meet anyone in his family.  Apparently his parents were super-pious and American Christians would have contaminated them because one day towards the end of our visit B commented, "My parents would have liked to meet you...if you were only Muslim." 

On the other hand, I remember one specific instance where I know I hurt someone because he was different than I so I know I've hurt others, too.  Probably many more than I want to admit - or even realize.

Have you ever been shunned or hurt because you weren't the right gender, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, or _______?  Even though you tell yourself so and so might not have meant it quite the way it came out, it still hurts a little (or a lot.) 

Anyway, this was just something I'd been thinking about.  I know we are in an election time when people are dividing and sometimes telling how stupid the other side is, but let's remember to be known for loving and serving others, fellow Christians, even if they differ from us.   Yes, even if they vote for that candidate you really, really don't like! 

1 comment:

Karen said...

I love your thoughts - very insightful!