Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Life's Short, Talk Fast

On internship I have gotten really into the television show, Gilmore Girls. I never saw the show when it was on air the first time, but I’m watching reruns online. WB.com releases three episodes each week, which forces me to pace myself. I came in around the beginning of the second season and six months later I think I’m reaching the end of season five. I must admit I’ve really become attached to the characters. I cried when Luke and Lorelai broke up for the first time. I felt a little silly, as it was happening on television and in I think 2005, but it just seemed like Luke and Lorelai were meant to be together…

One of the things I find most interesting about the show is the exploration of class divisions between Lorelai and her upper-class parents. Conflict frequently arises between their different values and knowledge. For example, Luke’s struggles to fit in at the Country Club, or Emily’s amazement that Lorelai knows how to sew a button. Lorelai’s world and the Gilmore’s world have different rules of interaction.

I’ve been reading a book recently called What Every Church Member Should Know about Poverty by Bill Ehlig and Ruby Payne. The book outlines the cultural differences in economic classes, and how those differences affect how we view the world. The premise of the book is that each economic class has hidden that are unique to that particular class. The majority of congregations function under the hidden rules of the middle class, but to do effective outreach in either direction it is imperative to understand the hidden rules of the other economic class.

Watching Gilmore Girls has, oddly enough, helped me understand the hidden rules that I function under and how those can get in the way in ministry. As Lorelai fights her parents assumed norms, I too am challenged to see what preconceived notions I bring into conversations with people in different social classes then my own. I highly recommend Ehlig and Payne’s book, and of course, the Gilmores.

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