Monday, May 26, 2014
A seminary moral professor, writes in the magazine: With Bible, on a need to see the world with different eyes. He mentions the book by Kevin Perrotta on James: Put your Faith to work. When we believe in Jesus, we can't accept discrimination. He begins the article with the passage from the epistle of James 2:1-4-- "My brothers, do not try to combine faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord, with the making of distinctions between classes of people." Do I spend a lot of nervous energy on deciding what clothes to wear or am I surprised at the tastes others have for clothes?
The writer mentions when he was in middle school one of his friends was wearing a crocodile logo T-shirt with pride. The group of boys began to argue about whether it was genuine or fake. The writer showed his socks to the group which had the crocodile logo, but the tail of the crocodile logo was going in the opposite direction. Although he said nothing, it was taken for granted that his friend had a fake logo and within seconds, his friend's situation looked shabby. He asks, was it the logo that was important or wasn't it something inside both of them, they wanted kept hidden, and were trying to express with the brand name? They were showing off, wanting to be seen better than they were. When he recalls this incident, he is embarrassed.
He introduces us to Merleau-Ponty (1908-19610) a phenomenologist and his book The Visible and Invisible. The body is what interacts with our environment: without the body, we cannot communicate with the world, and we can't explain our lives. In our present world not only is the body considered important but the way we express our sexuality, and it surrounds us everywhere. The mass media makes much of this sexuality and makes it a commodity.The result of this emphasis prepares us to see only with our eyes and foolishly miss what is invisible.
With a belief in Jesus, we can't at the same time, discriminate among persons. Jesus is the example that we follow. He had no concern for the person's place in society or fame; he loved them all. In the words of Perrotto when we associate with those who are well dressed we are dealing with someone important and expect some good to come, but with another person dressed shabbily being considered a friend is something we avoid. To judge only by a person's exterior is a fault. We are judging like the world and not a follower of Jesus. When attracted only by what we see, we will not be attracted by what we can't see: and that means God and the things about God.
He admits that even today when a person is shabbily dressed and well dressed comes to church the way he relates with them is different. He still does not want to be treated like an ordinary person. He knows that this is not what it should be for a follower of Jesus. He realized that to see what is impossible with the bodily eyes needs the tempering by belief. And reminds us of the words of Jesus to Thomas: "You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe."