Wednesday, September 2, 2009

People of Wal-Mart: People of God

There is a website sweeping the Internet and social networking sites called People of Wal-Mart The premise of this site is people take pictures of people at Wal-Mart dressed in ridiculous or less than desirable clothes or with mullets or funny in some other way. People look and laugh at those who are dressed worse than we are and maybe we feel a little better about ourselves. I must admit that the first time I saw this site I rolled with laughter and I wondered where people’s heads and pride have gone. Perhaps this site is like “You might be a redneck…” where people make fun of themselves a little but because they know they are guilty of the same thing. However, in reading the RCL texts for this week (Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost Year B), I may have a change of heart. James 2:2-4 NSRV reads

For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please’, while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there’, or, ‘Sit at my feet’, have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

We all get a chuckle at the guy with the socks and sandals or the woman with the tube-top a few sizes too small, but what happens when we allow our chuckle to become a prejudice? Are we placing ourselves at a higher level or class when we look at these pictures? I confess that these thoughts cross my mind when I see people in dirty jeans or perhaps those who have not bathed in awhile. What if that person was not a Wal-Mart but at church? How would our attitudes change? Too many times we judge others and ourselves by the clothes that we wear and unfortunately this happens too often at church. The biggest controversy after worship music seems to be the dress code. Should suits and dresses still be the norm or is it anything goes? Does God not care about our dress or should be present our best before God? These seem like irrelevant questions in the scheme of church growth, but what happens when growth works and the people who come in are not what the people expected?

There is nothing wrong with a little humor, especially when we laugh at ourselves. However, we must always remember that the people of Wal-Mart are also the people of God created in the same Imago Dei as the rest of us. Let us not pass over those dressed poorly in favor for those dressed in the Rolex. Remember, Bernie Madoff probably wore a Rolex.

1 comment:

Katie Z. said...

fantastic reminder!!! and great sermon illustration!!!