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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Friday, January 13, 2006


Nathaniel said to Phillip, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"

Assumptions, type casting, prejudice. We are all guilty of some, if not all, of these at one time or another. Jokes are rampant, thinly disguising disdain for other cultures, ethnic physical features, races, speech patterns, customs, social classes, mental and physical handicaps, even country, region/state, city/village of origin.

Jesus is being labeled because his hometown has not been the birthplace of a myriad of notable Rabbis or scholars of the Law. It was a small rather pedestrian town. No great shakes. As a matter of fact, in comparison with larger villages and the hotbed of activity that was Jerusalem, Nazareth was pretty backwater. Lower class, lower prestige, insignificant. He was being type cast by the stereotype of someone from his village... someone? No, make that a nobody.

I was born in a relatively affluential town in a relatively affluential county in New Jersey. As fate would have it, we moved several times. First from the outskirts of that town to a village about ten miles away. We moved from apartment to apartment. When I was 8 we moved to the next town. Although this was beyond me at the time, the change would influence the way people saw my family and by extention, saw me.

We moved from an integrated, middle/lower middle class town to a upper middle class entirely white town. Protestants comprised the church going majority, Roman Catholics the minority. Not one Jewish family.

Looking back on it, all the kids on the secretarial/trade track in high school were Roman Catholic. The town prided itself on having a 95% college enrollment record.

Of course, that was nearly 50 years ago..... but then again, Jesus lived nearly 2,000 years ago. Some stereotypes exist because it simplifies things. Other times, stereotypes exist for a much more offensive reason - to dismiss others, to create and maintain inequity and difference, to divide, to separate.

Dare to destroy stereotypes by looking closer! Dare to risk being amazed! Phillip did. So did eleven others.... and the other disciples...... and their followers...... and converts and Christians throughout the ages.

Can anything good come out of Nazareth? From New Jersey? From Poland? From 'the dark continent'? YES. Thank God, YES!!!!


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