I’ll never forget the first time I heard someone mention WASP and realized they weren’t talking about those bee-like creatures who sting and are really scary. I was relatively young, and when the acrostic was explained to me, I realized I was still lost. I only understood what one of the four words meant. WHITE ANGLO SAXON PROTESTANT. Ok. I thought I got the WHITE. The other three, forget it.
I’m guessing everyone has their own story of how they came to discover the identity of their family, skin color, racial background, national identity, religion, etc.. Still, it isn’t something that comes very intuitively. These are all categories that require some degree of learning and context.
As the years went by, I learned a bit more. Anglo Saxon in my mind just meant English or British, and I didn’t get the difference between those two at all, but at least I had a bucket into which I could put Anglo and Saxon. Protestant? That was a bit harder. We went to a different church building (as if we ever went) than the Catholics did, and we could eat meat on Friday, and if we had a cross hanging in our home, it wouldn’t still have Jesus hanging on it. And our ministers wouldn’t wear those long dresses or black clothes during the week with a white thing called a clerical collar.
But so what? What really mattered was discovering what this meant to others. Some seemed very proud of being WASPs, like an attainment of sorts, and somehow superior to other categories. And there didn’t seem to be variations of it. Never heard of WASC or WHITE ANGLO SAXON CATHOLICS. OR BASPs. BLACK ANGLO SAXON PROTESTANTS.
I could go on, but you get the point. What’s the big deal? For my Grandmother, this was a huge deal because she was DAR (more initials) or Daughter of the American Revolution and even an elite one. After all, she was also a DAM, Daughter of the Mayflower. That’s about as close to royal pedigree as one could have as it was explained to me in Elementary School. My blood must be red, white, and blue.
Now I know that WASP referred to a specific combination of Race, Heritage, and Religion, which somehow meant I had hit the jackpot. I was privileged. Over time, I discovered that lots of people didn’t like WASPs, and the subtleties and nuances surrounding the issues weren’t going to go away, certainly not anytime soon if you read the same newspapers I do.
So today I decided to bring in a special guest. She is more white than me. She is way more English than I am, and she’s worked in the City in London and on Wall Street in Manhattan with names that look exactly like the ones on your checking account. Privileged indeed. Born English, raised in Cambridge, mother of 3, Miss Julia Kate Nand. Welcome to Church Hurts And.
Before we close, I would like to take a moment to make a very personal comment. Today’s show was hard for me to do. It was really vulnerable. You see, we started with White, English, and Privileged. We ended with Julia, a person, a mom, an American, Survivor & Thriver. I am beyond honored to call her one of my closest and dearest friends on this planet.
I must admit I am struggling with living in the world these days. I don’t like the virus, which is a foolish thing to say. Like anyone does? I don’t like the uncertainty of civil unrest and hostility in politics like seldom before. And I don’t have all the answers, but I do have one.
Somewhere underneath the issues that are bothering you, somewhere deeper than the fireworks, somewhere out of the spotlight, somewhere under the clothes and the jewelry and the hair or hairless is a person. Like you, they have a story. Like you, they have a soul. No matter what color, what country, what heritage, what memories, what biases, what blindness, there is a person. A person with a story.
Jesus, a real person, didn’t get angry very often. But he did once, and most of us have heard about it. Since this is Church Hurts And we have a clue where it might have been. In a church! What? In a church. Then it was called a synagogue, but you get the point. What was he mad about? Religious people were missing the point. Religious people were taking advantage of others, not learning their story, just trying to take their money. “Did you forget whose house this is?” STOP IT! Do you forget who these people belong to? STOP IT. THIS IS MY FATHER’S HOUSE.
Julia works in a building just a few stories above 6,200 hundred tons of something. A ton. That means a lot, right? But not 1 ton, 6200 tons of gold. Pure gold. It didn’t help her when push came to shove. She didn’t ask for a pass to go get nearer to the gold. She looked up in desperation from a hospital bed and asked God where he had been. And she got an answer. It sent her to the back to the basement of a church where the formerly smoke-filled rooms of recovering drunks smiled with open arms and coffee breath and said, “Welcome home.”
Find the person, hear their story, and remember… life hurts, Church hurts, people hurt, but there is some excellent news on the other side of AND.
Wonder what would happen if we’d agree on this: with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
It’s Worth a Thought...