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this man JESUS
Missional Leadership Apprenticeship
MetroSoul Media
Events & Gatherings

Social Classes
Written by Lindy Erin   
Saturday, 15 September 2007
I've heard it said that the greatest divider of our country is not between races, but between economic classes. I've realized living in the Bronx, how true that is. Miscommunication I've seen happens most often between people of different educational and economic backgrounds, more so than any ethnic groups.

I recently was able to reunite from a friend from my past, who so happens to also live in a wealthy area of Manhattan, and is doing very well for themselves. I have enjoyed so much catching up with this old acquaintance, but it has also come with some difficulties. Seeing this world of materialism, status, appearance, designer labels, and pressure to continually climb up the career ladder, i find myself somewhat disoriented and at times outright awkward. I am not familiar with many of the terms, names, brands, and social activites they participate in. They have blessed me with 15 min. car rides home which would have taken me over an hour by public transit. They have blessed me with paying for my meals, and welcoming me into their group of friends. I feel grateful for that, but also realize how difficult it is for me to be on the receiving end of this. At times it seems it would be easier to retreat back to the Bronx.

I reflected on these feelings and I realized to my dismay, that I am most comfortable when i'm in a position of power. Perhaps it's not always financial power. But for the last 2 years I have been the one that has the privilege of higher education, a drivers license, the resources and networks to work and travel to other states, and some times the power in the form of experience. I know where to look for jobs, how to fill out job applications, how to make a resume, and how to move to another state if I need to. Many of these things I take for granite are the very thing that keeps friends of mine in cycles of poverty within the poorest borough of NYC, whereas I have the ability to choose if I leave or stay.

I have heard many lessons from preachers telling us to go to the margins of society and not just give handouts but become friends with those who are the outcasts, or the less privileged. We are encouraged to go get involved in their lives, which I think is exactly what Jesus did. What I think i often fail to realize though, is the fact that Jesus didn't just reach out to the margins, he joined them. Until some of my recent experiences, I dont think i had ever considered that although it may be difficult for me to find commonality and friendship with someone richer than me, it is equally if not more difficult for the person on the margins to find a friend in me.

For myself and others, I hope we are able to consider what a huge sacrifice and gracefilled thing it is when someone from "the margins" risks the humiliation, and awkwardness of becoming friends with someone with a very different worldview.

Jesus help us to be people who read and live out your word from a worldview and perspective of the poor and outcast, and may our theology and life reflect that vision, your kingdom's vision.
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