What does the Super Bowl have to do with the word ‘convenient?’ Good question.

privilege

I hesitate to admit it, but it has taken me this long to figure out that the entire world doesn’t skate around in the same rosy glow of privilege that I enjoy. After all, I’ve always considered that as a woman, I was an underdog and therefore excluded from the ‘privileged’ label.

Misogynistic men chap my hide, and I speak up and speak out about the unfairness of how the church treats women, and how men objectify women. But I only do so when it’s convenient. Most of the time, men’s attitudes and their glass ceilings don’t bother me. I can bury myself in my cozy middle-class world and ignore the media circus.

After all, the people in my circle of colleagues don’t limit me in any way based on my gender (my church is another story…but that’s for another day). My husband values and supports me and we work together as a team. Sometimes I’ve done the heavy lifting, sometimes he’s done the heavy lifting.

But in reality, I live an incredibly privileged life and I don’t think I take advantage of it in the right way—the way God intended. All too often I use my privilege to keep myself and people comfortable. I avoid conflict and rocking the boat because I want other people to like me.

Jesus Lived a Privileged Life

Sure, Jesus entered life as an infant in an occupied nation, but the Jews still had a strong sense of identity and pride. They acted as if they deserved privilege—especially when dealing with the Samaritans.

Jesus could have lived his whole life under the radar, ignoring the Samaritans and kowtowing to the church hierarchy. But he didn’t do that. He spoke up and acted out (clearing the temple with a whip seems pretty drastic) when he needed to make a point and get people’s attention.

Me? Not so much. I write status updates on Facebook and hesitate before I hit publish in fear that some stranger (or friend) will hate on me for my opinions. In other words, I use my white privilege only when it’s convenient for me.

Paul calls us to a better way.

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”

Romans 15:1-2 MSG

We could substitute the word ‘Strength’ for ‘Privilege’ and that would about sum up what we should do.

I’ve been praying and asking God to make my heart break for what breaks his.

Why I Won’t be Watching the Super Bowl

I won’t be watching the Super Bowl this next month, because the event brings in thousands of sex traffickers and their victims. The National Football League does nothing to combat the atrocity or speak out about it. Admittedly, I usually enjoy the comradery and the commercials more than the actual game. But I want to make a statement.

The most popular Sunday of the year (no, not Easter) is fast approaching, but I won't be watching the Super Bowl. Call me un-American. I've decided to use my privilege in other ways. Go ahead and judge me, but read this first. #socialjustice #sextrafficking #SuperBowl

So, don’t show up for a Super Bowl party at my house. I’ll be busy working on my students’ blog and helping them get their minority voices out in the world.

I’ve stopped whining about the American Library Association’s decision to rename the Laura Ingalls Wilder award over issues of cultural and racial insensitivity.

Instead, I’ve read books that broadened my understanding of what really happened in the United States. I now understand that even good church people were complicit and or active in massacres of innocent Natives.

When I hear about the thousands of missing Native women and girls, I don’t just shake my head now, I write blog posts to bring awareness.

But every so slowly I’m chipping away at my wall of complacency and understanding what it means to be an ally. I need to look at the people around me (and they’d better not be a bunch of people just like me) and ask, “How can I help?”

Before you invite friends over to watch the Super Bowl, ask yourself how you're using your privilege. #fmfparty #SuperBowl #socialjustice Click To Tweet

After all, that’s what Jesus would do.

This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!

13 Comments

  1. Good, cogent post, Anita. I think, though, that it’s important to enjoy the comforts that our individual levels of privilege allow. Certainly cancer has taught me this, in conneion with Barb’s role as a caregiver; I have to push her to take care of herself first and foremost, because she’s every bit as important as I am, every bit as precious in God’s eyes…and if he won’t take care of herself, no one really can/
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 572 – The Lump {FMF}My Profile

  2. I find myself unsure of what to say…..and I am unsure of why that is. I think it’s because and I’m not sure their are parts of your post that I agree with some parts that I don’t. So I want to Tread lightly until I figure out the difference

    1. It’s ok, Annette! We can be friends even if you don’t agree with everything I say! I’m reading an excellent book right now that is showing me that it is my mandate to speak out for those who have no voice (which means I need to get to know them and ask them how they want me to speak 😉 ).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…How to be a Better GrandparentMy Profile

  3. Last year I wished I watched the NFL so that I could be adamantly not watching it. I already wasn’t a fan. (Love me some Alabama, though…Roll Tide!)

    If I were going to a church where I felt that I was treated unfairly as a woman, I’d leave. But I’ve never experienced that…or didn’t notice, lol. Privilege, I believe, is what we choose to do with the opportunities we make along with the ones we are blessed with. Sometimes it depends on how hard we are willing to work for the things that are available. Not giving up. But mostly, seeking Him first…
    Margaret recently posted…Be Fearless in Your ResponseMy Profile

  4. Anita, I could no agree more. I believe my stand has a lot to do with being raised in another country. I live in the shadow of the ATT Stadium (Cowboys). Keep speaking up. Sorry about the issues at church. You have a strong voice. It is a privilege to call you friend.

  5. I remember when I first heard about this… it seemed so hard to comprehend… so terrible that it just couldn’t be true… and yet… tragically, it is. It’s less about football or the players or the game and more about simply the size of the crowd and the fact that people travel out of town and it’s still unfathomable to me, but I know it happens – not just at the Super Bowl but really – any event that draws that many visitors be it sports or concerts or conferences! Praying… thank you for raising awareness here!

  6. This is awesome, Anita. There are so many different ways we can use our voice, and you are using yours. Thanks for the inspiration to make hard choices to stand up for those who can’t!

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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