It is virtually impossible for us, as humans, to keep from putting people and things into categories. Categorization isn’t bad or evil, it is just a thing that we all do. I have read that one of the actions that we do best is pattern recognition, which is all about categories. We put what we recognize into one category and what we don’t in another; friends go here and family go there; “this is safe” and “this is dangerous.” These categories are all useful and good. The problem arises when we start putting inappropriate value on our categories. If we put people into the categories of wealthy and not wealthy that is neither here nor there until we add values to these classifications. When we say “wealthy = good” and “not wealthy = bad” we are beginning to create problems.
This Sunday was designated as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Sunday in the Presbyterian Church in Canada so you will hear some attention being paid to the whole notion of First Nations / Indigenous Peoples and the church, especially in the sermon at St. Mark’s. This isn’t as far removed from this whole business of categories as you might think. Perhaps the well spring of the whole mess that residential schools turned into was a categorization of First Nations as less than people; perhaps even less than human. It was when the Europeans decided that First Nations people needed to be fundamentally changed before they could be properly exposed to the Gospel that everything went awful.
Knox Presbyterian Which one are you?
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Which one are you?
Oh, and Happy Father’s Day to all.