We’ve all heard this statement before, right? Like most people, I’m amazingly good at condemning other people for their prejudices, their faults and foibles, but rather more reluctant to examine my own prejudices and faults. Aren’t we all? This was going to be one of those self righteous rants packaged as a Christian blog post, where I point my finger at other people, crack a few funnies, chastise and chide everyone else and then sit back in my imaginary ‘Big Boss’ leather upholstered armchair bathing smugly in the afterglow of my undiscovered genius, and all but light myself a celebratory Cuban cigar at a job well done. That’ll show ‘em!!!? But, no!!!! I’ve seen the light, hallelujah!!!! I realise, and actually have for a long time, that I come replete with all kinds of prejudices coupled with the obligatory rationalised, and most definitely self righteous, judgemental attitude that can politely and sweetly look at everyone else’s faults and sum them up in one fell swoop. It’s like one of those super powers, that no one really admits to, that we all have. It’s a negative power, if you like. Coming from a relatively poor, but by no means poverty stricken, background, I have had a bit of a chip on my shoulder (or is that two BIG chips, one for each shoulder?) for quite a long time, and I do admit that I can wonder from the path of my usual tolerant self (that’s irony and humour, all in one!) and be, shock horror, PREJUDICED!!? Who, me?? Yeah, the very same, yours truly, can be prejudiced. My prejudice, the one that really gets me going, is more a class prejudice than anything else, usually directed at those who I perceive are prejudiced about my supposed low born origins, whatever that really means, so because all those successful middle class people automatically hate me, I can hate them in return without any guilt, and with bags of justification. You see, we never really talk about class differences and class discrimination in the UK, it’s probably the biggest elephant in the room, and yet at the same time is the biggest marker of social distinction and social division between the majority of people, probably long before racism and anything else. It is, sad to say, an acceptable and certainly accepted prejudice, and I suspect one that is hard to explain and understand to people outside the British Isles and possibly particularly most of all, England. What’s ironic in my case, and also in many other people too, is that despite my humble and relatively poor but most definitely working class origins, I am an educated man to degree level standard, particularly well read and knowledgeable about, and interested in, many varied subjects, have a number of talents including a creative talent that encompasses photography, guitar playing and writing, a burgeoning skill in cooking, and I present myself and talk in a smart, presentable and professional way. Hardly the roughest person you’ll ever meet, and often people think I am middle class, so..... so, I realised that some of my prejudice here is rather curious, to say the least, and though any prejudice might even be based on some generalised grains of truth, sifted and gleaned through my faulty perspective and prejudiced assumptions (you can see that degree wasn’t wasted!), when any one of us holds on to a prejudice and starts to base their attitudes to others and life in general on those very weak foundations, we can’t be surprised if things start to appear as if we are right, even if we are, in most cases, completely wrong. And, whatever the case, all it will do is make us unhappy, obsessed and boring to be around. My class prejudice is no different than racism, anti Semitism, misogyny, homophobia or any other that sends people off on a tangent of anger, hatred and ultimately discord with other people and dysfunctionalism on a very personal level. On a very personal level, I pray about this now because I don’t want to be a bigot anymore. I have one advantage; well, two. God has made me aware of my problem, and if He has, He will work with me to understand it and ultimately to pray about it because I don’t want to live under this grey cloud anymore. So, I believe I have done, and am doing, what God wants me to do, which before trying to change the world and tackle all its problems...is to change myself and tackle my own problems, whilst walking with God.
I could have called this post ‘I’m Not a Racist.., But... I Have Prejudices Like Everyone Else’ or ‘Thank You Lord, For Not Making Me Like Those Pharisees!’ or ‘I’m Very Good at Pointing Fingers at Everyone Else’ but I think the title I chose is the best, as it is short and to the point, and it is ambiguous enough to make people read and think the worst, or amuse (or bemuse) the casual reader, who expected one thing, and found another! I like to shake people up sometimes, but there is usually now some method in my madness, and although I am known to be very inquisitive and often ask my friends and sometimes even acquaintances very open questions purely for interest and curiosity’s sake, I never ever mean to hurt people or ever slyly want to upset them. But I know I do, sometimes. I need people to know on here, and outside the cyber world, that God is slowly but surely changing me and that I apologise for my bombastic nature and attitude and even some of the stuff already on here. I’m a work in progress.
Like most people, I have friends from all walks of life and different social backgrounds and a number of different countries, dotted around the world here and there. Even some in good ol’ Blighty, believe it or not!? I’m blessed by God in that respect. I will probably always write about the poor and the marginalised because my Irish ancestors were probably most definitely wretches escaping the famine or the aftermath of the Great Famine in Ireland and my family have been essentially working class people since then, for the most part anyway. But, life hasn’t been a constant struggle for me, and I am grateful for that, too. On this blog, I want to downplay the resentment and anger, and put more focus and emphasis on my Christian faith and include a lot of cheeky humour, too. Most people who know me would tell you that I am far more likely to crack a witticism, sometimes an inappropriate one(!), than I am to be deadly and earnestly serious. I can lose that sense of silliness, fun and humour when I am too serious, and I don’t want to. But Christianity, and the Christian life, can be a deadly earnest business sometimes, where we have to have faith in God and hold on to His promises even when we go through prolonged negative situations or circumstances as I have for a couple of years now. It’s almost blind faith, but not quite, as I can see and feel that I am changing for the better, slowly but surely, and slow progress is always better than no progress. Financial struggles, unemployment, a number of health issues and feeling rather down because of it all. Apart from that, I’ve been fine!! I know God is doing a work in me, because I know I need to change, and what’s more I want to change. You may find that something strange seems to be happening in your life, now or sometime in the future, and it confuses you or upsets you and it might literally bring you to your knees in desperation where only praying to God will begin to make sense. It may be that God has to bring you to such a place, where you feel completely washed up, so that He can help you. When things are going good, most of us tend to forget God. I know I have, and many times. It’s amazing that when many of us go through trials and tribulations, our last resort is often God, when He should always be our first priority. It’s also that our faith, as such, can often be paper thin, and so consequently our Christian walk is lacking substance and we might not have a relationship with God at all. Prayers may just become ritual and not much more. And if our prayer life is lacking in either truth, true desire or a genuine attempt to pray for God’s will to be done on earth, in heaven and very much so in our day to day lives, then we’re just fooling ourselves. Faith is not a set of rules, of do’s and don’ts, nor necessarily ‘being good’ or some kind of constant self discipline leading inevitably to disappointment, nor is it any of us obtaining a respectable front, while covering over our defects. It’s obviously not the opposite of these things either, it is being obedient to God, sometimes radically obedient when circumstances or people or your own feelings seem to dictate otherwise, having faith completely in God and developing a friendship with Him. Trying to be good, or religious, is really putting faith in our own efforts and not God, and sooner or later you will fall flat on your face. If we all spent just half as much time working on our character faults, judgemental attitude and pride instead of the time we spend pointing fingers at others, we would all be in a better place. That’s told ya!!!!