Saturday, September 03, 2016

Revolt Against Cultural Hierarchizing of Human Value

My back yard

I have been looked down on and looked up to. I have been despised, pitied, and admired. When I attend to these hierarchizations I feel either worthless, or worthy.

This is life on the honor-shame hierarchy, which engenders approval seeking and disapproval sinking. Cultural valuations of persons is a never-ending roller coaster of opinion-poll downs and ups. Is there a way out of this craziness?!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Autobiography, describes an experience he had as a little boy. King writes:

"My mother confronted the age-old problem of the Negro parent in America: how to explain discrimination and segregation to a small child. She taught me that I should feel a sense of “somebodiness” but that on the other hand I had to go out and face a system that stared me in the face every day saying you are “less than,” you are “not equal to.” She told me about slavery and how it ended with the Civil War. She tried to explain the divided system of the South— the segregated schools, restaurants , theaters, housing; the white and colored signs on drinking fountains, waiting rooms, lavatories— as a social condition rather than a natural order. She made it clear that she opposed this system and that I must never allow it to make me feel inferior. Then she said the words that almost every Negro hears before he can yet understand the injustice that makes them necessary: “You are as good as anyone.” At this time Mother had no idea that the little boy in her arms would years later be involved in a struggle against the system she was speaking of." (Clayborne Carson, The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., Kindle Locations 153-160)

This is Real Jesus wisdom that dismisses cultural hierarchies of power which measure human value on a scale from worthy to worthless. Jesus opposed this. Jesus revolted against this. He came to demolish this, and replace it with his kingdom that is not of this world.

All who are in Christ are "somebodies." In Christ's kingdom no people are "less than" or "not equal to." It's precisely "the least of these" (Matthew 25) that Jesus comes for. 

In the eyes of Christ, which are the only eyes worth being evaluated by, I am as loved as anyone. As I fix on my true belovedness in Christ I refuse to ride the roller coaster of the surrounding culture.

Know who you are and what God thinks of you. 

Struggle against the world system that holds people captive.