Monday, October 16, 2017

Privilege is as Privilege does

Privilege... that's a popular word these days.

But what, exactly, is it? And what, if anything, should we do about it? These, I think, are the questions that the creators of the video below set out to answer.

With over 33 million plays on Facebook, there's a decent chance you've already seen it (if not, go ahead and watch it - we'll wait).

Ok, now that you've watched it, I want to spend a few minutes responding to it. Call it an appreciate critique, if you will.

Here are three things I really like about this video:

It lists actual privileges.

After seeing dozens of videos like this that make everything about race, gender, and sexual orientation, it was truly refreshing to hear points of legitimate privilege.

And, yes, I think I do think privilege is a real thing.

The truth of the matter is that many of these (dare I say) traditional family values are massively important in the life of a child. Having a mom and a dad who stick it out together goes a long way in setting a person up for a successful life. And while living within your means can be difficult, the benefits are worth the sacrifice.

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." 
-Proverbs 22:6

It provides realistic goals.

One of the main points that the video seeks to make is that a lot of things happen to you that are out of your control. Your parents make choices, and those choices affect your life.

That's true.

But, on the flip side, that also means that you can make choices that affect the lives of your children. And, as described in the video, many of those choices are ones that any person, regardless of background, can make. Statistically, if you follow the big three rules (finish high school, keep a job, don't have kids out of wedlock - per Brookings), you will not remain in perpetual poverty. Granted, you may still not be able to send your kids to private school, but you can still provide for them a stable home life.

Maybe these aren't privileges you were given, but they are ones you can give to your children.

"A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children..." 
-Proverbs 13:22 

It gets compassion and generosity right.

Lastly, I think the video hit the metaphorical nail on the head with regards to compassion and generosity. Understanding should produce compassion, and compassion should move us to be generous towards others. Yes and amen.

Here, however, is where I imagine some will find disagreement...

If you watch, you'll notice that the coach (or PE teacher or whatever he is) doesn't command the student who won to share the money. Nor do all of the students get together, form a legislation, and come up to him and say, "Well, we all got together, voted, and have determined that you need to share divvy out the money between the rest of us."

Nothing of the sort.

The student takes the money that was rightfully his and chooses, of his own accord, to give it away.

That's not socialism. That's not government re-distribution. That's charity in its right and proper form. That's actually social justice in it's proper form. It's living out the Hebrew word mishpat - living in heartfelt equality with those around us. Not by force, but by choice. And that choice, of course, by love.

"But if anyone has wealth and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" 
- 1 John 3:17

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