It wasn't intended as a guilt-game, but I can see how it might have been interpreted that way. And as I've read each response (which is one reason it's taken me so long to post Part II), I have seen such deep compassion and caring that I can't see it as a competition. Like the story of parents who scrimped and saved so that they could own a small home. And the parents who insisted their children be well-read and speak proper English because they had been immigrants. Or the families who wanted more for their children than they had, so took the kids to museums on a regular basis. Or the family who had original art from their grandmother. As I've read each post, people have become their stories, and not their 'score.' I hope you've had a chance to read all the responses. If you haven't, it might be a good daily practice to read one response.
And a good first step to a more open and accepting Religious Society of Friends.
I recently had a phone conversation with Robin M. over at What Canst Thou Say? and she shared some wisdom with me that I will share with you here because I found it true for myself.
She said when she has more than two steps to get something done, it often goes undone for longer than it needs to. I think 'refunds' offered by corporations when you buy expensive electronics play to this very human tendency. I recently bought MS Word for my new computer and Microsoft is offering free software updates in 2008. All I have to do is copy my receipt, cut out the bar code, address and stamp an envelope, and put it in the mail. You can guess whether I've done that yet or not.
Robin also pointed out that dealing with class within the RSoF is similar because it's going to take more than two steps to become more diverse. There isn't one thing (or even two) that we can do to be more open to working class and poor people. It's going to take many steps.
And hearing each other's class story and history is one (which is one step beyond telling our own story, isn't it).
Now that some of us have taken this one step, I have a question for us as a Religious Society.
We can, through the work of the Spirit, live out God’s reign on earth. All Friends seek to live out of the love expressed in the Sermon on the Mount… When understood as wholeness, spiritual maturity, soundness, completion, or even obedience, perfection starts to become more accessible to me. Other Friends who find the terms perfection and holiness difficult are more apt to speak of discipleship, obedience, baptism with the Holy Spirit, or the ‘Lordship of Jesus Christ’. For a few, spiritual formation or inner healing are the most expressive terms for perfection. ‘Teleos’, the Biblical word for perfection, means ‘end goal’ and suggests an orientation more than a fixed state of being.I think it's fair to say that all Friends seek to live out the kind of love Jesus spoke about. And it's also fair to say that we're all in process, we're all heading toward that love. And that few, if any, of us have arrived.
From A Certain Kind of Perfection, an anthology organized by Margery Post Abbott
So then certainly our understanding of social class is a similar process. But to where are we oriented? A belief in the equality of all human beings? A form of Jesus's love? A political belief in socialism? A belief in an all-inclusive Faith?
And if you did the privilege exercise (on your blog, in my comments, in your own mind), where were you oriented? Where do you want to be oriented? Where *should* we, as a Religious Society, be oriented?