I’m sitting here at work, the day after the 4th of July, and I’m pondering a few things. I hate when that happens as it doesn’t happen often. But here I sit in my office at the college with absolutely nothing going on but our usual rain soaking. Nothing is going on because we are normally closed on Fridays during the summer months and since the 4th fell on Wednesday this year just about everyone took today off (silly me). So here I sit, drinking my green tea and reading blog after blog. And pondering. Pondering is an actual word meaning, among other things, to “chew over, think over, meditate, excogitate, contemplate, muse, reflect, mull, mull over, ruminate, or speculate.” The root word, as far as I can tell, was probably taken from Ponder Texas, which isn’t that far from here and has a population of 507. With a population that small I’m guessing there’s not that much to do but ruminate. I always thought that ruminate was something Captain Jack Sparrow would do quite often after a night of frolic and rum, but it’s not – it means to ponder.
One of the things I’ve been reflecting on is how my spirituality, my faith and what I believe, is so greatly influenced and shaped by my White Anglo Saxton Protestant background, the old WASP factor. And dare I add Middle Class and Male, but by doing so screws with the WASP acronym. A lot of what I’m looking for in a new church is founded on my Middle Class culture, and how I would expect my white middle class Jesus to live out HIS faith. I can’t really relate to the poor and down-trodden because I’ve never really been poor or down-trodden (unless you count the fact that I can’t afford the new iPhone or the now not so new Wii). I can’t relate to other ethnic cultures because, well, I’m a WASP. And everyone knows we all worship together. Growing up in the Panhandle of Texas we had “the other side of the tracks” mentality, or “colored town,” and that kind of thing stays with you for a long time and is reflected in my “spirituality.” Even the paintings hanging on the walls of the church tells me Jesus was blond and blue-eyed.
Another thing I’ve been mulling over is the excess of life. Not life in general, but in my own life and by connection the WASP churches we’ve been going to. We make a nice living with our two jobs, but we have excess to the point of struggling from payday to payday, and we are just not willing, or motivated, to do something about it. Like sell the house, pay off everything, and live in a nice but not fancy place. We like our yard, two-car garage, three bedrooms, big trees and nice, quiet neighborhood (a WASPy one at that).
Being the day after the 4th of July, another thing I’ve been contemplating is my patriotism, or lack of it. It’s not that I’m not proud to be an American, I am. But America, if you are really honest, has changed a lot in the 231 years since the Declaration of Independence was penned. There are some good things, and some not so good things. You would think, after this long a time, that everyone would be “created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Of course, our founding fathers, WASPs in their own right, declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” Self-evident. Sort of like, “Well, duh.” We have become a society of excess, and distrust, and division. It’s “us” against “them,” even though we’re not clear who US, or THEM are.
Ok, enough pondering. These are just some of the things rattling around on this rainy, quiet day. I’d like to leave you with a video from Rob Bell, just for something to ponder.
Nooma – RICH
[HT: Shaun Groves ]