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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Over-correction


Because sometimes even Leviticus catches up with me…

True story, y’all, this is me reading the daily office:

Leviticus 19:9-10, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest.  You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God” (NRSV).

“YES!  GO GOD!  STICK IT TO’EM (whoever ‘em is)!!!”

Also me, still reading:

Leviticus 19:15, “You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor” (NRSV).

“WAIT!  WHAT?”

And to be fair, I started saying that about halfway through these words.

It is not difficult for me to over-correct, and to be completely honest, I think we need to.  However, I am cautioned, today, about the importance of loving even those who are privileged, in ways that are just.  The truth is, most the time I don’t want to do this.  It’s weighing particularly heavily on me right now, because I had an encounter a few days back that made me frustrated and furious to the point of tears… in public… and of course that just made me even more frustrated and furious, because I don’t do that ugly crying in front of people I don’t even know thing.

Every personality profile, temperament indicator, etc. in which a person can participate indicates that I am an advocate by nature.  Most of the time, I won’t fight for myself, but if you even think about offending, insulting, abusing, neglecting, or harming a weaker person in my presence, I will fight harder than anyone, and I will not stop until I win.  Unless I can’t win.  And then I will break down and cry.  Because I cry when I’m angry. 

Unjust practices aimed at the marginalized make me angry!  I think they should.  You can disagree if you want, but then I’ll probably start crying.  Vicious cycle.

Unjust practices aimed at the elite (or even advantaged) are not as hard for me to accept.  And, oh crap, that might be a problem!

So I think we have to define what truly just practices look like.  I think after centuries of racism, sexism, classism, all the isms, there is a place for over-correction, but I sometimes fear we will create new groups of marginalized people as we do this.  For example, as much as I want to smash the patriarchy, I don’t want to lose the legitimate important insights that are available to us from the work of ethical, educated, middle-aged, white guys who live in the suburbs.  There goes my readership…

But seriously, how do we level the playing field without obliterating entire ‘teams?’  I mean, hasn’t that been the problem from the beginning?  Do we need more empowerment?  More partnership?  More basic respect for all of humanity (and the rest of creation)?  Yes.  I would certainly say so.  But I’m starting to fear there might not be as much space as we think… as we hope…  And people get really ugly when they think they’re going to be eliminated.

And then one more:

Leviticus 19:18b, “… you shall love your neighbor as yourself…” (NRSV).

What an interesting origin for the second greatest commandment.

Can we create space?  Thinking out loud…
 
L.

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