I grew up in an all-white upper-middle class community in the 50's. My father was from a well-to-do family in an upper-middle class suburb of Pittsburgh. His family had servants and his father owned a horse farm in the country besides the home in the suburb. My mother came from a solid middle-class family. Her father was the manager of the exclusive businessmen's club in Los Angeles in the early decades of the 20th century. Later he became a contractor in our city which is right next door to the city of Los Angeles. My mother was born in Los Angeles and then when she was almost 2 her family moved to the town where I live now (which isn't the upper-middle class community where I grew up--that is also next door to the town I live in now).
My mother went to high school with John Wayne; and lived on the same street as his family for a while. That was her claim to fame...LOL.
When you come from that background and grow up in the 3rd wealthiest community in Los Angeles County (Interesting enough, Beverly Hills is never on the top five list), you can become arrogant. It isn't something you try to do; it's just kind of in you.
So, during my 41 1/2 years of being a Christian, God has done interesting things to "cure" me of this affliciton. I began my teaching career in the Watts section of Los Angeles in a junior high a year after the 1965 Watts riots. That was very difficult as there were gangs and fights and drugs then too. However, thankfully, little shooting. Then for most of the rest of my teaching career I taught in what I call the outer inner city. It's those areas that are working class..lower-middle. However, I also taught in middle class and upper-middle class schools. I had a different kind of teaching career. Instead of one class or 5 in the case of secondary teachers per year; I was a traveling music teacher for the first part of my career after two years in the Watts junior High; and a traveling computer teacher for almost 6. In my 21 years of teaching therefore, I estimate that I have taught over 10,000 students, trained over 150 teachers and worked with over 50 principals. And that doesn't include my last job of 3 1/2 years selling educational software to teachers and principals. I have also taught every ethnic and racial and socio-educational group in Los Angeles County.
For 32 years I have felt called to teach in churches. The doors haven't opened yet but I see that this type of training as well as my intense interest in various churches and denominational structures and theology, has prepared me well for this task.
But getting back to the arrogance matter. I said yesterday that I went through 11 years of destitution. This has made me rather sensitive to the plight of the poor, especially those who have lost jobs or become sick and cannot work anymore. I look around at churches thinking that they surely will have an answer for these people--money to share, help in finding work, prayer for healing. And guess what?
Where in the world are the churches? Or to paraphrase Doug Perry....why are we spending $10,000.00 for a church chandelier when so many people are hurting--right in our own churches.
Steve Went Looking for Grace
3 days ago