In almost all categories of cultural consumption, I prefer things that are of the English persuasion. I like saying that chips are crisps, I think it makes more sense to form a queue, and there’s nothing like a good cuppa. My favorite TV shows are all British, my favorite authors are all British, and my favorite recording artists are, too! Seriously, buy me something with the Union Jack on it, and I’ll love you forever.
I think they officially call people like me Anglophiles and there’s even a blog over at the BBCAmerica website dedicated to us.
Anyway, I think you get the point.
The crazy, anachronistic thing is that I’ve never, ever been to England. Not anywhere even close unless you count New England as close, and you really shouldn’t. I’ve never walked in Trafalgar Square, never had a pint in an English pub, and never gotten the chance to drive on the motorway.
I have a strangely romanticized version of all things English and I’ve never even been there! In fact, I think if I were to ever go, I’ll be a little disappointed when everything doesn’t meet my dreamed up expectations but, you see, it’s not my country… so I can do that.
All of this is to say: I get it. My anglophilia is like my people-philia
People are incredibly awesome, diverse, funny, and interesting — They are the heartbeat of the world and I love them! People are great.
I had a professor in college once say that a lot people love the idea of “people” but they don’t like individuals very much. In other words, they like to solve world hunger but they don’t like to see if the kid next door is getting enough to eat. Ouch.
I get it.
I get why Christians have a hard time loving the reality and romanticizing the dream. It’s hard. Very, very, nitty, gritty hard.
As long as the person that needs help is a hundred miles away and can be thought of as someone who looks like the type of person that deserves help, I’m all up for it. However, as soon as that person is standing in front of me in line at the grocery store and using an EBT card, I get pickier. When the person is the homeless guy that keeps coming back to the shelter and doesn’t seem to do better, I get upset. When it’s the family next door that can’t seem to make smart decisions, I start to make excuses.
I justify not caring for my neighbors.
An aside: This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be wise with our money, talents, and gifts, however, far too many times do I use the reasoning of wisdom to excuse inaction.
Loving people the way Jesus loved them involves an understanding that they (just like me) are going to mess up. They’re going to make mistakes, be unwise, and probably slip back into destructive old habits. That’s why loving real people hurts.
It’s also why it’s so important to keep my eyes focused on what really matters – How can I love this person in such a way that Jesus will be glorified?
Do they see Jesus in me?
It’s not romantic. It’s an uphill climb in a world that says investing resources in others who could possibly mess up isn’t worth it but I’m forever grateful that God chose to ignore that advice.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.