Unspoken Class System

sub·tle

 adj \ˈsə-təl\

1 a : delicate, elusive  b : difficult to understand or perceive : obscure
2 a : perceptive, refined  b : having or marked by keen insight and ability to penetrate deeply and thoroughly
3 a : highly skillful : expert b : cunningly made or contrived : ingenious
4: artful, crafty

5: operating insidiously

I’d venture that the majority of failures in my life started with subtle change.  Subtly begins and ends with rationalization – just this one time, just this one friend, just this one piece, just this one thought, just the way it is.  Rationalization is rooted in carelessness, birthing an unhealthy disregard for the future, and allowing a reasoning mindset that narrows in on just this one moment.

America is known as the Land of Opportunity and I suppose if you’re running from a cartel ridden, racist city, a communistic society, a war torn, poverty filled nation, then America would mask itself that way.  Honestly, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else – I love my country.  I love my city.  I long for us to fulfill the potential we project.

Yet, I can’t escape the subtle dangers we face together every day.

I mentioned briefly the unspoken class system in a previous post.  The more we cross racial, cultural, social, economic boundaries, the more critical it is that we deal head-on with the subtle, unspoken lines that fuel misunderstanding, ignore borderline hatred, and feed on the seeds of past prejudice.

Think about the subtle lure of temptation– it is as the definition says:  delicate, elusive, obscure, operating insidiously.  Our enemy is a crafty, cunning little devil, a subtle rogue, who, as someone said to me recently, “only has is time.”  Our God can also be subtle, walking among us, marked by keen insight, His words holding the ability to penetrate deeply and thoroughly.

Destruction and restoration both happen in the subtle sowing of time.

I am sure we all can conjur up a phrase we heard a parent, a teacher, a friend, a leader speak over our lives that was so negative that it has taken (or is still taking) years  to erase and replace with the truth, because that little thing grew subtly in our minds and hearts into so large a giant, we are terrified to face it, much less kill it.  I imagine we can also stir up a moment, a memory, a gesture, a gift, a word of encouragement, a scripture that moved us from pain to purpose and subtly swelled from desperate hope to irreplaceable truth.

Stories wreck me in all the right ways, because stories are so very human, reminding us how alike we actually are.  We all hurt.  We’ve all had to overcome.  We’ve been the victim.  We’ve been the victor.  We’ve been at the end of ourselves.  We’ve realized at the end of ourselves is the wonderful grace of God.

If we took away all our “stuff”, if we stood on level playing field in our nation, we would discover how similar we are, and better, how much we really need each other.

The Occupy movement is rather fascinating.  I do not have enough information to criticize or support the efforts in 1500 cities across the globe, but I will say its impressive to watch unspoken barriers, walls and lines disintegrate as people unite to wage war on injustice.  I’m learning about mobilization as we watch them battle for a voice in the middle of devastating economic times (which most folks in America are rationalizing away with “just the way it is” indifference… anyone else remember the fall of Rome?)

Mobilization is why I love the church.  Unity in diversity is why I love the church.  Come as you are – broke or rich, white or black, catholic or atheist background, Skid Row or Beverly Hills lifestyle – and wage war against injustice.  I dream of a different America, of a different Los Angeles where we work together in the name of Jesus to make our communities liveable again.

@AshAbercrombie

One comment

  • “Destruction and restoration both happen in the subtle sowing of time.”

    SO good!

    You know I have never, ever read the definition of subtle, but what a great picture you paint here. It makes me think of the times in my life that have resulted in destruction or restoration…it very rarely happened all of a sudden, but, like you point out “the subtle sowing of time.” It was decisions and choices I made over time that led me to one place or the other. And so the same can be said about the tumultuous times we find our country in now.

    It’s crazy times we find ourselves in but I, like you, am fascinated at watching people mobilize to make a change: not only here, but worldwide. Groups of people can change things. There is history to back that up. And if we can mobilize and do it in the name of Jesus…we will be unstoppable! Grateful that you are one of the many heading this up in our church!

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