My apologies for the lack of energy here lately - having your partner come back after 5 months away and a new semester starting at the same time will kind of suck up your time and energy for a while. :) I think things are calming down into a "normal" routine again, so I promise I'll try to be more consistent here.
That said, there's been a running theme for me lately - questions around class. I'm not talking about whether you have any or not (if you're reading this blog, that probably says enough). I'm talking about economic/educational/social/political status. I don't even know how to define what class is! Oprah did a show on it a few weeks ago - a show that disappointed me, I have to say, although it did open up the door for some conversation. How do you determine what class someone is? Is it how they dress? how much money they make? what kind of car they drive? how they talk? race? hairstyle? I think for me, it's kind of a combination of things but I really struggle with this.
I know that I was raised fairly well off - (not that we didn't have those years where we lived in a tiny, moldy apartment and ate as cheaply as possible) - but it's become more and more of a realization for me as I get older just how well off I was - and continue to be. And yet, I know that I will not make anywhere near as much money as my engineer parents did. I don't want that kind of money - that's not my priority, but isn't it something that I can make that decision for myself - that I've been priveleged enough to get to this point! Just as I continually struggle with my own internal racism, I struggle with my internal classism. I know that I judge people based on their education level and personal appearance, but there are other things that come off to me as "low class" - smoking, for example. Not that I can't think of rich, "upper class" people who smoke, but in general it's something I associate with the blue collar, working class, less educated folks. I remember when I got my tattoo (which isn't bery big, and in my opinion, very tasteful) the very first thing my mother said to me was, "That's just such a low class thing to do!" I was clearly supposed to be ashamed of my actions, but the joy of rebellion wiped that out. :) So what is it? Can all Americans really be "middle class"? Who gets to decide who is which class? Which class do you think you are? Which class do you think the people you interact with on a daily basis are? the bank teller, teacher, postal employee, car salesman, grocery cashier, etc.
Now that you've thought a little bit about how you think of class, where do you put pastors? They tend to be an educated bunch (at least the ones who go to seminary), but they rarely make much money and can't send their kids to private school or choose to live in the best school districts since they have to live where the church calls them to be. They have to be able to deal with people from all walks of life - homeless to wealthy, all races, all sexual orientations (although that one can be debated). I'm curious to see what you think - and if you're clergy, where do you see yourself in the class system?