Exclusion

I had to fill in a form for my new doctor. I have finally been given an appointment to see a CFS/ME specialist. It included questions that asked me to compare my current state with my ‘normal’ state. I am flummoxed by questions like these. I was diagnosed with this condition when I was 14. I have never lived a ‘normal’ adult life. Then there was the question of employment. I never chose to be a housewife, although I’m trying to do the job well. Coerced away from education and into my first marriage and immediate motherhood at the age of 21 I never had an occupation, as such, so it’s no good asking me about this. I never chose to be a mother (yes, you did read that right and yes it probably does mean what you think it means…) and I never chose to be a housewife, just as I never chose to have this condition or to be abused or to end up with PTSD.

In that moment I understood what it is to be excluded from general society, to be treated as less than human. There was no box for me to tick. The assumptions were already made. Perhaps that is why my response to those whom society has excluded is so strong. I get it. It sucks. It’s wrong. They and I are no better than anyone else, but equally no worse. They and I, like every human being, are made in the image of God. We are all God-breathed.

This morning God spoke to me through His Word and it directly relates. You may find it useful, too, so I share it here:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honourable we clothe with greater honour, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.

1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (NRSVA)

So the people that seem small and insignificant are deemed ‘indispensable’? That’s good. I’m ok then. How about you? And how does this change the way we view our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world? How does this change the way we view our potential brothers and sisters in Christ around the world? Why do Christians follow worldly ideals and create ‘celebrity’ Christians?

 

Reblog: This Must Not Stand

I have not really known what to say about the referendum result, but this post from blog The Left Hand of Ehud comes close.

The Left Hand of Ehud: Matt's Bible Blog

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Look, this isn’t about Politics-with-a-capital-P: there was a referendum, small majority voted to leave the EU, we have to manage what happens next. That’s just how democracy works. And markets will eventually stabilise, deals will be reached and things will come together like a lucky drunk fumbling his way round a jigsaw.

But this is a Bible blog, and so it’s at least partly about politics-with-a-small-p, because how we think about God will mould have we think about people and society and laws and how we live together. And the church can’t help but find itself in the middle of that messiness, because the church is made up of people that form communities, and right now there are scared people out there.

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Apparently instances of racial abuse have risen 57% since last Friday. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of Brexit, it seems like a spectre has been unleashed, or…

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Some are More Equal

‘All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.’

~ George Orwell, Animal Farm

‘I met with leaders of religious groups, who are Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist… When I asked them about the status of women, almost all responded that within their own religious group, women are treated as equal, but considered to be either separate or different. This reminded me of my childhood days when black people were legally considered separate but equal; they were kept largely separate and certainly not treated as equals.’

 ~ Jimmy Carter

A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power

‘For you are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus… There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’

Galatians 3:26,28 (WEB)

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

I did not grow up in a culture that defined and labelled people by their skin colour, or their ethnicity, yet Britain is becoming increasingly intolerant towards those who are ‘foreign’. We who represent the body of Christ would do well to consider for ourselves the question who is my neighbour?

 

Very interesting post today over on Rachel Held Evans’ blog: http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/the-other-lie-lisa-sharon-harper-ferguson

 

the man, wanting to justify himself, continued, “But who is my ‘neighbour’?”

And Jesus gave him the following reply: “A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He fell into the hands of bandits who stripped off his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead. It so happened that a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. A Levite also came on the scene and when he saw him, he too passed by on the other side. But then a Samaritan traveller came along to the place where the man was lying, and at the sight of him he was touched with pity. He went across to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put him on his own mule, brought him to an inn and did what he could for him. Next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the words, ‘Look after him, will you? I will pay you back whatever more you spend, when I come through here on my return.’ Which of these three seems to you to have been a neighbour to the bandits’ victim?”

 

“The man who gave him practical sympathy,” he replied. “Then you go and do the same,” returned Jesus.

Luke 10:29-37 (JB Phillips)

As you read this probably very familiar bible passage, and after you have read the guest post over on Rachel Held Evans’ blog, consider this: in the parable of the Good Samaritan, is it the Jew who took pity on the Samaritan, or the other way round? In other words, did the ‘privileged’ show compassion for the ‘oppressed’, or did the ‘oppressed’ show compassion for the ‘privileged’?