Pool houses vs. rent houses. Invisible fences vs. chain link fences. Private clubs vs. strip clubs. SATs vs. G.E.D.s In a A Tale of Two Cities fashion, the sectional semi-championship highlighted two very different portions of the city of Evansville. It was the white 3-point shooters vs. the black high-flying, fast-paced ballers.
Obviously, those phrases are meant for artistry more than culture shaming. These two economic classifications transcend puns and two-word labels. For the sake of brevity, however, I will leave it at that. I understand these truths because I live and work in these two cultures.
Friday night’s game between the the Memorial Tigers and the Bosse Bulldogs epitomized the dichotomy of my life. On one hand, I work at an athletic club where members come from neighborhoods where they (jokingly) have an extra trash pick-up day to collect the plastic packages purchased at the local shopping mall and electronics’ store with disposable income. On the other hand, I live and minister in a neighborhood that (jokingly) has to have an extra trash pick-up day to collect the plastic packages purchased at the local convenient store with food stamps. However different they are, they both have one common thing that rests deep within them: entitlement.
Entitlement is so frustrating to me. One popular political influencer, whose focus is on economic equality, states, regarding low-income Americans serving jail time for unpaid municipal fines, “If these low-income people happen to be working, jail time will likely result in the loss of their jobs and the inadequate income they currently have”. Do we see the entitlement he projects on the socially underserved? Why should they get a pass on breaking the law just because of their situation or how they were born? That line of thinking makes me think of the Israelites who chanted, despite their actions, that they were children of Father Abraham. They thought they did not have to face the punishment of sin because of their situation and to whom they were born.
Entitlement is so frustrating because I am entitled. I have been given eternal life, both qualitatively now and quantitatively later, and I, basically, had nothing to do with it. The main thought of Christianity has been preached to me ever since I was a tiny tot. The thought of being entitled to eternal life is rooted deep within the foundations of who I am. I think people with Porsches are entitled, thinking they deserve the nicest, best, and first, despite the many socially underserved people in the community their disposable income could help. I think people on food stamps are entitled, thinking they deserve help from the government to survive, despite their foolish spending and denial of a plethora of decent jobs that could help the aforementioned business owners and managers.
The truth is, instead of getting mad at someone else for being entitled, we should use the approach popularized by Jesus and make sure we take care of ourselves. We need to cleanse ourselves of selfishness, pride, and other things that make us think we deserve something, anything.
Better question, was the phrase I titled this blog sufficient, or should I have titled it entitled?