Tag Archives: judgment

Up Close and Personal

18580992_1588208187897343_1114141746675056640_n(1)My wife and I attended the U2 concert at the Rose Bowl last Saturday evening. We arrived early to beat the crowd and got a little turned around which, appropriately, sent us down a street that had no name. Thankfully, with an assist from the Waze app, we did eventually find the parking lot that we were looking for (which was good because my wife was going to get there with or without me). Thank you. I’m here all week.

How to describe the concert? Well, “predictably amazing” is a contradiction in terms, but that is it. The hard, powerful music. The massive stadium crowd singing in unison at full voice. The shared high school memories with thousands of my newest and similarly-aged (and aging) friends. The truly spectacular visual technology. The pleas for social justice. And Bono stalking the stage as a pastor directing the liturgy.

It was quite the experience.

But the unexpected arrived in Section 17 near the end of the Lumineers’ opening set. Earlier, my wife, who may be the most observant human being on Planet Earth, noticed a gentleman wearing a flannel shirt and sporting a beanie casually walking along the stadium walkway below us. Like thousands of others. Except that he looked exactly like The Edge. 

Well, that was weird, but maybe it wasn’t so ridiculous at a U2 concert, and the dude didn’t seem to attract any attention. But some time later we noticed a commotion about twenty rows behind us, and it was THAT GUY with about a zillion people trying to take a picture with him. It’s him! No, it isn’t. Yes, it is! Is it? My logical self concluded that it could not be The Edge since it was near the end of the Lumineers’ set; however, since there turned out to be enough time between the opening act and the main event to grow vegetables, my logic fell apart. No one officially settled the debate, but my wife is convinced that it had to be him. Look at the picture and decide for yourself.

Either way, how cool is it for someone who tens of thousands of people paid small fortunes in time and money to see in action to just go out with a drink and wander around the crowd? On the other hand, how weird is it that tens of thousands of people pay small fortunes in time and money to see someone and not know for sure if that person actually sat down next to them?

It is easy to think that you know someone from afar. It is far more difficult to be sure up close and in person.

We humans surely move in mysterious ways.

 

The Problem with Judgment

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Norman Rockwell’s historic 1964 painting, The Problem We All Live With, serves as an important-yet-disturbing reminder of the enduring legacy of Ruby Bridges.  At age six, Ruby integrated an elementary school in New Orleans, although calling it integration is a little misleading since white parents pulled their children from class and white teachers refused to teach little Ruby.  Thankfully, one brave teacher from Boston agreed to step up, and for a full year Ruby experienced the ultimate in student-teacher ratio.

She also experienced pure hatred.  Rockwell captures the hatred in his painting, but Ruby experienced it firsthand.  The screams, threats, and nastiness came hot and heavy, directed at a sweet little girl simply trying to go to school.

At her mother’s suggestion, Ruby did something special as federal marshals escorted her to and from school each day: little Ruby prayed for forgiveness for the people screaming at her.

Remind me, what is it that I have to be upset about today?

I can think of two things that I have in common with Ruby Bridges: first, both she and I lost our homes in Hurricane Katrina; and second, we were both at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures on Wednesday evening this week, although I was a bald head in a vast crowd while she shared her captivating story from center stage.

Ms. Bridges said that she loved the first grade because of her wonderful teacher.  She said that her teacher looked like the screaming crowd—but she was different—and that the lesson she learned that historic first-grade year is that you cannot simply look at a person and make a right judgment.

Embracing that lesson is the third thing I want to have in common with Ruby Bridges.

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