Sunday, September 27, 2015
“We are here for the sake of others...for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received and am still receiving.” ― Albert Einstein
The young man who was expelled from the school in Texas for bringing a clock to school was here in New York this week, and my daughter-in-law got to meet him and his family. Talking about it reminded me of the fact that my younger brother was also expelled from a Texas high school. He was the same religion, had the same color skin, his father was a successful and prominent local businessman, and his grades were the best in the school. So why would they expel him? His hair was too long for what the school board had decided was proper for young men, and my brother refused to cut it. He was a junior and had taken the PSAT’s but was summarily expelled. Later, the school discovered that he was a National Merit Scholar, the first that school had ever had. Then, they decided they may have been a bit hasty, but it was too late. The formerly all female college, Vassar, had gone coed just the year before and as my brother had scored an almost perfect score on the SAT’s, what would have been the second semester of his junior year in high school became the first semester of his freshman year at Vassar. He graduated with honors with a double degree in drama and computer science (graduated with Meryl Streep whom you may know). He went on to get a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin, where he was also a Sord Scholar (a high award). He is now a tenured professor of business at the University of Memphis with only one bad mark on his impressive scholarly resume—he never graduated from high school because he was expelled for not meeting their arbitrary dress standards (long since abandoned). We have become so quick to judge others that I know we make Jesus weep. He lived, preached, taught, and modeled forgiveness, acceptance, and love. He touched the lepers. He welcomed the children others tried to keep from him. He called blind Bartimaeus to him while his own disciples tried to push him back into the crowd. From the cross, He forgave those who crucified Him. We remember and revere all the saints who managed to live as He called them to live in spite of the way the church and society mistreated them. Every saint has a history and every sinner has a future thanks to Jesus Christ. Every time I read the news, I read of some new harsh treatment of someone different from the rest of us and sigh, hold my head in hands, offer up a prayer, and wonder, “Have we learned nothing?” Did Christ suffer, die, and come back for us because He was so proud of our quick judgements in spite of His own admonitions for us not to judge? There will be a day of judgement because Christ said there would be. He also told us how to prepare for it. If only we would.