Thursday, March 17, 2005

Shattered Prejudices

Background: Go back and read these previous posts: Chivalry and The Nature of Fear.

Amy is in New York City. She called last night.

"Mom, I had a chance to read your blog. And it was kind of funny because we got on the subway yesterday and here was this weird guy with a really baggy sweatshirt and really baggy pants....and he got up and offered his seat to Phebe and me. And then we were in the subway station and we didn't know where to go and there was this black guy with dreadlocks and he was really helpful and showed us where to go."

Quote of the Day:
It goes to show that you can't judge a book by its cover and chivalry is not dead.
--Emily

13 comments:

  1. PTL! It's good to hear that our stereotypes are not always accurate. However, those nice, if unkempt, fellows are the exception, not the rule. It still is good to be cautious. How does the Bible put it? "Wise as serpents; gentle as doves..." I think that's right.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So what are you saying, Paul, about people that look strange to us?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Its kinda humbling to think that some people might view us (Mennonites) as the strange looking ones. It makes a person want to try to make sure that we don't leave a bad impression on people.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Arlene, I don't think we should focus on making "impressions". I think we do that to often. We are so concerned about what people think, how other people view us, etc. I think rather, we should focus our eyes and our hearts on Christ, live as we ought, conduct ourselves the way we know we should, and the rest will happen. You won't win the world by pasting a smile on your face and calling it the love of Jesus. It's gotta be from your heart, real and alive. Not just a pious little smile to "witness". If you turn your focus from the outside onto what is in your heart, the impression that you leave to the world is none of your own, rather of Someone greater. It's not about the us leaving a good our bad impression, it's about us being alive and real in our walk with the Lord and that is apparent to those we come in contact with by no power of our own.

    Ag

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am merely pointing out that while most of us have grown up in an extremely sheltered environment, the world outside has become a very harsh and hostile place. Sometimes I think we are naive and expect everyone to have the same values, or at least principles, we have. They don't. As was pointed out, we are often viewed as the odd ones out.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ag, I agree with you to a point..I wasn't trying to say that we should "focus" on making impressions, but whether we want to or not, we ARE making an impression..I have seen some Mennonites that look like they have the world on their shoulders, and yes they may have Jesus in their hearts, but they are also making an impression, and sometimes it isn't a good one. I think if we are who we say we are and have the Lord in our hearts we will be a Joyful People and it will show!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry Ag, that last post was from me...~Arlene

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yet another way we can leave a bad "impression". I am sure we could agree that we have seen some people (Gasp!! maybe even "our"people LOL!! )that obviously are not concerned about their personal appearance.. I would think that could also have a negative effect on our witness...Enough said!!HA!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would agree with Yates. We must be careful. Generally Mennonite youth(and home scholars) are sheltered people, and at times our naivete could put us into dangerous situations. God does take care of us, but I think we are foolish to pray for protection, and not use our God given intelligence to be aware of our surroundings.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Maybe we should get out there and learn about the world so we can interact with it intelligently and wisely instead of simply saying, "Be careful because we've been sheltered and are naive," and "its a harsh and hostile world."

    ReplyDelete
  11. Paul, your first comment reminds me that there is a balance, truly, but I'm not convinced that I'd say those who are both nice AND "strange" (to us) are the exception. On my college campus, I have found absolutely no correlation between the "weird" look and evil. If anything, the people who've looked the strangest to me have been the nicest. Some of that may be because neither of us are "mainstream middle class white American." I guess I just get a little defensive--I've met some great people that many Mennonites would've avoided, and my own preconceptions have been so thoroughly smashed that I had to speak up. But you're right--evil is all too prevalent. "And deliver us from evil."

    Lori

    ReplyDelete
  12. Maybe it is my age, but I try to look as 'normal' as I can within whatever range normal is in this country. Since it has been the ladies that have said the most here I assume that it is the modest dress and covering our sisters wear that is the issue?

    How we dress can lie about us, just as the use of disguise is used to deceive people. The way we dress is mainly to fit in with a certain culture or society. There always have been people that dressed to shock the 'normal' people, I did it when I was young, and young people do it today. You will usually see it more in cities of larger population and in more varied ways, than in the more rural areas.

    While dress doesn't always mean a person is evil (evil people usually try to blend into the populace at large as they do not want to draw attention to themselves), many times the way people dress is indicative of who they are within. I would usually trust a neatly dressed person more readily than a 'gansta' type individual. That may not be Christian in the eyes of some, but it is the way employers make descisions on future employees. Dress, hairstyle, all the things that people use for their appearance speaks of the heart. I know an apple tree by its appearance, I would not expect to find pears on it. Same with people, at least to me. I expect a Christian to be modest and neat in appearance; not following the fads/fashions of the world. We are a peculiar people, strangers in this world, in it, but not of it. Law abiding citizens usually dress within an accepted standard. While I try to avoid stereotypes, although it does happen and usually is for a reason, and that is likely a protection that is built into us, however, in all of this, Ag said it best in her answer to Arlene.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Creative blog. I just kept looking at it over and
    over! Im always looking for blogs like this!
    Come as you are and look at my mn minnesota house cleaning blog.

    ReplyDelete