Today is Confirmation Sunday! Our young people have learned and prayed toward this day, and we celebrate this important part of their lives with Christ. Simply put, this is the day that they accept the vows made on their behalf at baptism for themselves. They declare that they believe in Jesus Christ, and there is no other by which they may be saved. They reject evil and pledge themselves to follow Christ’s teachings about caring for others. This is a holy day.
Dogs, Hogs and Frogs
Such is a subtitle I saw somewhere for the text we read in church today. Admittedly, in my pre-vegetarian days, I have eaten frog legs once and bacon frequently, but I just can’t wrap my gastronomical imagination around eating a dog. Certainly, many people in the world do eat dogs. For me, the idea is icky.
That’s how Peter and the other first generation Christians considered Gentiles. Although they believed in Jesus, it was hard to give up the Jewish practices and biases with which they had grown up. Jewish children were taught to avoid Gentiles, and that if they had to interact, to make it as quick and superficial as possible.
Several years ago at another church, a traditional Jewish mother and daughter knocked on the church door one Saturday morning. I happened to be there and opened the door. She asked for the restroom; her daughter was sick. Of course, I asked her in and showed them the way and offered to get anything they needed.
I could feel how uncomfortable she was to be in a Christian church, and I knew she regarded me as a Gentile. I made her feel icky. I felt sad to see her so troubled about her daughter and about being there with me.
Then there was the man in Charleston who just couldn’t sit through worship because he thought I looked like his ex wife. If he closed his eyes and just listened, he was fine, but if he opened his eyes, he felt icky. Not much I could do about that.
I wonder how many people have felt icky because I violate their biases? Christian. Woman. White. Preacher. American. I wonder if we could have been friends.
I wonder about my own biases, what friends have I missed?
What friends have you missed?