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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Middle class Sins - Working class Sins (or, The Unread Blog)

The Queen's Speech
Some years ago I was introduced to a believer who, I was told, came from a very reputable and well-to-do Christian background. Wealthy third / fourth generation Christian family - you know the sort of dynasty I'm talking about.

I was naturally shocked, therefore, when I heard her speak ill of some other believers of whom she disapproved. She was 'up here' and they were 'down there'. The devil would have struggled to match her vitriol!

And yes, I know from the letter of James that any one of our tongues can become a world of evil, a wild beast on which we must put a tight rein. But a pattern began to emerge in my observations.

I have discovered that among the churches there are.....

Working Class Sins
These are of the outward, immediate, obvious to everyone sins. Gluttony, bad language, boozing, fighting, sleeping around, laziness, the blame culture (missed the bus? It's the bus's fault) and so on.

The aforementioned sister would have blushed at these sins and stood high and mighty above them: her life was in order.

But all the while she was unaware of her....

Middle Class Sins
These are, if anything, more pernicious than their working-class cousins.

1. Pride, pride. Pride that I don't smoke, get drunk, sleep around or blame the bus driver because I was late to the bus stop.

2. Pride, judgementalism.  Pride is a multiple sin, for it lives not only in the heart, but works itself out in a judgemental spirit. Unaware that their ordered lives are nothing but a gift from God (the product of perhaps generations of 'good grooming' which, being in the past, had nothing to do with them), they judge the disordered, the indebted, the uneducated, the overweight. Why can't they get their eating in order, their daily routines in order, their finances in order - like us?

3. Pride, aloofness. Because it's the cardinal sin of the middle classes. Aloofness is how it reveals itself now. Since they do not engage in the 'gross' sins of the working classes, since they judge them, they naturally stay away from them. Sometimes without even knowing it, they send off multiple signals of disapproval and 'don't get too close to me'-ness. In church life this is picked up by sensitive souls as rejection.

Of course this division of sin is a gross simplification, for both kinds of sin are found in both classes. (The blogger knows what he is talking about because standing socially between the classes he suffers from both categories of sin!)

All are sinners
The blunt fact of the matter is that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The blunt fact of the matter is that sin is found in equal measure in all classes: it's just skewed in different directions.

That's not in question. What's in question is whether or not the working class will own up to their brands and the middle-classes acknowledge theirs. Both need to stand before the mirror of God's Word and confess together their general and particular sins.

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