Also, what she said up there at the top

So far, this series has been as follows:
Tonight I'm going to interject with words not my own, from the same series of posts.

I used to think I needed to “reach out” to those who are marginalized, overlooked, oppressed…
I owe my soul to the Dorothy Day House, not so much because of anybody there, but because it was named after Dorothy Day. I already realized that Christianity, as I wanted to be, involved some externals, and some stances. (I'm much less sure on that now.)

But I realized the prophetic part of the Christian ministry early on. I wanted in on that desperately. And it meant something that I learned from Dorothy Day: "Works of Mercy."

Things I did to and for other people. The hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the sick and the dead. Things I did for different people; people who had those problems that I didn't.

I'm not sure about the demographics of "liberal" vs. "fundamentalist" churches any more. I can't say that mainline churches are actually richer. But I'm still willing to bet that "fundie" churches are allowed to be a lot poorer. A lot less privileged.

And for all that I may have been a bit more self-aware than most, I was one privileged motherfucker growing up. In a comfortable "middle-class" family (those words, they didn't mean what I think they meant), just white enough, the holy trinity of cis-het-male. I could take it for granted that I'd be able to go to college, and get a decent job, and a home life like the one I grew up in, and all that.

Mercy was for other people. Mercy, a virtue, was just another privilege. Something that I, with all my qualifiers, could show to Them, who didn't have them.

...now I know that I am one of us who make up that group… There is no reaching out or reaching down…only finding myself "alongside," both giving and receiving.

How did I get down here? That's a long story. One that I started blogging five years ago and forgot about, actually. But it IS "down here." Because I didn't actually get that college degree, or that decent job, and I'll never be able to offer the home life like the one I grew up in. Or any of that.

But here I am, far less privileged than I was before. So much so that I'm now comfortably in the demographic of people that the privileged get to be merciful to.

And you know what? The Works of Mercy have changed when you're down here. They've become a lot less vertical. I can receive them now, as much as I can offer them.

It's a humbling thing. A shaming thing, although it should never be so. Something with consequences I still haven't worked out yet. And about which I will, for the moment, say no more.

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