This message was written and delivered by Rev. Sonya Brown.
Have you heard the saying about “the other side of the tracks” or “the wrong side of the tracks”? Usually this saying refers to the poor, undesirable, and dangerous part of town. That distinction of town usually classified the people from that particular part of town as coming from a poor family and possibly seeing the people as less than. This type of classification does not address how the people are possibly disenfranchised, excluded, and kept out of “right side of the tracks.”
Have you ever been told to stay clear of a certain area in your town or city? Or have you ever been told not to hang around a certain type of person?
It’s no fun to be excluded. Have you been denied access or service because of the color of your skin or gender?
I think we’ve probably seen movies or read books where people are categorized by social class, or ethnic and religious backgrounds. We’ve probably heard of culture wars where engagement with a certain group of people should be avoided. We might have been taught how to defend ourselves from the influence of other beliefs that are not like our own. Whatever it may be, there is an “us versus them” mentality.
The people of Athens, Greece were avoided by Jewish people. The Jewish people were intentional to not interact with the Gentiles because they were unclean based on the teachings in the Torah. Maybe we have done the same where we do not engage with others in order to not tarnish or make ourselves less than holy. We will discuss how God does not want us to exclude or demonize those who have religious teachings different from the Christian faith.