Judgment: The Standard Deviation of Worldly

December 13, 2010

My generation prides itself on being worldly, but we’re really just a bunch of idiots with pretty passports.

We expect to study in a first world country for a semester or spend a few months backpacking around multiple first world countries. Basically we chose a European capital as a home base, learn a little, use a universal currency to buy tickets for self-explanatory trains, hop from English speaking host to English speaking host and get bombed.

When we return we regale parents, friends and homebodies, with stories about our travels, speaking with authority about foreign cultures and policies we don’t understand but assume are far more progressive than anything in the U.S.

“Oh, I totally understand your feelings about public transportation. The U.S. is so far behind. It’s sickening. When I was in Nice…”

We want everyone to know we’re no longer American, we’re worldly. We’ve relaxed in Spanish cafes, we’ve walked on cobblestone streets and America — the people and the culture — are no longer of interest.

Essentially we give ourselves license to disregard — not critique, disregard — the U.S. and the citizens who love it. I’ve done this a thousand times, writing off at least a dozen states I haven’t explored, as dull or beneath me. How could anyone in Oklahoma have anything to offer when I’ve been to Spain?

Do I judge the Spaniard, the foreigner? No, I save that for the American, the insider.

This has been going on forever. Paul the apostle traveled the world sharing God’s word. When he returned, he criticized God’s people, his own people for professing to be worldly. He also told them they should be more like him, shouldn’t associate with immoral people, etc. But he leaves the foreigners alone. He says, “it is none of my business to judge outsiders.”

It’s OK to judge what we know, but we shouldn’t judge what we don’t know?

I just drove across the country and once I let go of my Big Box complex and started observing as an outsider, I wanted to keep moving. In fact, I can’t wait to see what else I’ve missed. Middle America is not passé. It’s freaking awesome. If you think Americans and American culture are boring, hang out with Dan the Man for a day.

It is none of our business to judge outsiders OR insiders. If people really believed this, the Bible wouldn’t have a purpose.

Stopping Point: Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians

NOTE: I’m posting random musings about my U.S. cruise under the N.B. (Nowhere Bound) tab.


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