Sunday, October 13, 2013
The Lens Through Which I View Things: Trying To Be More Open-Minded to Diversity and to the Practices of Others
I'm very happy to be spending one more night in the familiar and comfortable surroudings of my room at home. I'll return to the dorm immediately following classes tomorrow and probably will do whatever practicing I can do in the dorm. I cannot afford to do that often, as the quality of any practice I get in is less than optimal in the dorm, but it is sometimes important to be social.
Tonight I caught a bit of a TV program on Oxygen that I did not know existed. It's called "Preachers of LA." I don't think it's supposed to be funny, but it is in its own way. Most of the pastors featured in the show are inner city pastors. I can accept that these pastors need to run differnt kinds of churches than ones I've ever attended in order to have a ministry for the people they feel called to serve, and I think diversity is a good thing. I'm guilty of sytereotyping them and assuming that because most of them are black and from a relatively similar theological position, they can get along with one another.
Pastors can't all get along whether or not they hold similar theological views and share ethnicity. Furthermore, status as The Lord's Anointed notwithstanding, it takes a certain level of healthy ego for anyone to appear before a congregation on a weekly basis and attempt to function as a spiritual leader to the flock. I doubt that it matters what the denomination or ethnicity. You could fill a room with Mormon bishops, Catholic priests, Episcopalian or Anglican priests or vicars or whatever they're calling themselves these days, or Methodist ministers, and you would have the same sort of jockeying for position. Such behavior certainly isn't unique to the black Christian religious culture.
There's an added dynamic in their ethnic group possibly being more forgiving and more open to the idea that their clergymen are only human and can err just like anyone else. Extramarital liaisons of varying sorts happen in all of Christianity, Judaisism, and presumably every major and minor world religion. Black evangelical Christianity is somewhat unique in that a pastor typically continues to function in a clergy role.
Maybe the situation is truly that the people are less judgmental and not that their standards are lower in term of what they demand of their clergy. Or perhaps middle class white church congregations demonize "sex sins" while the African-American Christian community is more realistic and even more Christ-like. I really don't know.
Still, it gets my attention when I see a bishop sitting on the piano with his Baby Mama, rubbing her bottom. Maybe I just find such behavior in front of any third party to be unconventional because I was raised with the white middle class ethic of keeping intimacy behind closed doors. If they're just as happy as my parents and are not harming anyone else by their actions, who am I to say it's wrong? I'll leave that for a higher power to decide, but I probably will never engage in similar openness in my own life no matter who I marry.
I need to get to campus early tomorrow to practice for two hours with my cellist before my first class. I really want his recital to go well, and I really want to impress his adjudication panel with my skills as a pianist. Three out of his five adjudicators will be my piano adjudicators. I want any preconceived notions they have before they walk into my recital next month to be good ones.
This blog is ended. Go now to love and serve the Lord and to watch "Preachers of LA" if you get the chance and haven't already seen it. It is most enlightening.