February 22, 2011


We took Finnegan in for a well baby visit last month.  At one point the doctor stopped and asked, "Are you anti-vaccination?  I can't remember."  I said no, and he said, "Why do I always think that?"  I laughed and said, "It's probably because I do a bunch other 'weird' stuff, people always assume we don't vaccinate!"  And, it's true, people do assume this.  I breastfeed or 2 or more years, our babies sleep in our room, we don't circumcise, I have a few different baby slings, I used cloth with all our babies (except Finn), etc...people observe these things and then label me "crunchy" and make assumptions about other areas.

I'm often amused at how people will look at one area of my life, or belief, and then put me into a category.  People who only know me online, for example, and read my thoughts on politics and religion, are usually shocked to find out that my husband and I both have tattoos (and visible ones, at that).  It doesn't fit with the notion most people have of political conservatives or traditional Catholics.  Once, we met a real estate agent on a whim at a house we were interested in.  I remember her looking from us to the rear of our car a few times, and I knew what she was thinking.  Later, she casually mentioned, "So...you guys have a lot of tattoos for people that are so conservative!"  in reference to the Gasden flag sticker and the support the troops magnet, I guess.  On the other hand, people who see us assume we must be liberal atheists and are usually shocked to find out we're quite the opposite.  I'm not immune these stereotype myself.  When we became Christians, I tried really hard to fit the stereotype of what a "conservative Christian" looks like.  But, it's not me, and it definitely didn't make my husband happy.  I'm a little bit funky and different, and that's okay.  I try to dress with modesty, and my husband, in mind, but I think God will forgive me if I eschew the denim jumpers (which my husband has expressly forbidden me from ever wearing, lol!) in favor of something a little more hip (who am I kidding; I'm lucky to get out of jeans and t-shirts!)

I think this is natural, labeling people, part of our innate, God-given desire for order.  X goes here, Y goes there, nice and neat. And that's fine.  It's fine, too, to have personal preferences.  But two things, I think, we must keep in mind.  One, does the way I look prevent me from sharing the Gospel?  Now, I think we have a wide berth here.  I don't think we all need to look like we stepped out of a Norman Rockwell paintings.  Our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit, and it's okay to decorate temples.  It's not okay to tear them apart and rebuild them in ways they were never meant to be, or to make them so scary and imposing that your average person would be too terrified to approach them.  Second, do I strive to see Christ in others?  Do I look at people who offend my personal tastes and/or religious and political beliefs and treat them with disgust?  Do I think to myself that Christ didn't really come for them, that He came for people like me, instead?  Because there is no one that has ever or will ever live that Christ did not die for.  There is no one, no matter what they've done, what they believe, or what they look like, that He doesn't desperately love and desire.  Christ Himself commanded us to love our "enemies"-  But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for He causes His sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike.  For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even the tax collectors do as much?  And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional?  Do not even the gentiles do as much? You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. -Matthew 5:44-48

I have more I could say, but I'll stop there, otherwise I will never get this posted.  It's been sitting around for over a month. :)


Farm Fresh Jessica said...

I know what you mean...I try really hard not to make assumptions, and find I still do AAAALLL the time.

And you're so right that we need to be a witness in our lives so that people say, "I want some of what she has!"

Rightthinker-Andrea said...

Something interesting about fitting into a cookie cutter Christian mold...Jesus saves souls, and through that, changes hearts. He doesn't change the unique personality He created us with...that's why there are different people-because God made us that way.

We are also a product of our experiences before Jesus. We carry this manifested both inwardly-where people just assume they know, and outwardly where everyone can see it and judge!