“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12
We have all been told to live by the “Golden Rule.” Most of us believe that we should strive to follow this directive. But, seriously, what does the “Golden Rule” mean to us, especially in this day and age? Whether you were raised in the church or not, most of us learned by kindergarten several important life lessons – be kind, share with others, treat everyone with respect. As Robert Fulghum said in his book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” this is where we learned the blueprint for life.
Although this may be commentary that parallels current events, this is in no way political rhetoric meant to divide or enflame but, simply an observation from my perspective. I grew up in the South and was raised by very conservative parents. My Daddy was a minister who, aside from holding several degrees in divinity and theological studies also held extreme opinions and, dare I say it, even prejudices on certain subjects during uncertain times. But I was never forced to embrace any of his beliefs as my own. I could make my own decisions, form my own beliefs and explore the world around me in wide-eyed wonder. And I did just that.
I approached life without seeing differences in color, or sexuality, or age, or religion, or financial status or anything else that might be considered different. I understood all too well what labels do to a person. There were many labels that others had used to describe me. Stringy-blonde, freckled, skinny, bookish, nerdy, preacher’s-kid, brace-face, four-eyed…the list goes on and on. All I knew was that I was a human being just like everyone else around me. “…for God made man in His own image” Genesis 9:6
That brings me to the crux of this missive – during this time of “the virus,” we have been watching a lot of Prime and Netflix. Two of the shows we recently watched brought these and other prejudices into focus from a completely different perspective. Has anyone watched the new Perry Mason on HBO or last year’s season 1 of Carnival Row on Amazon Prime? These two shows made quite the impression on me and metaphorically tackled current events through a cinematic lens.
Let us start with the new Perry Mason. This drama was described as “in booming 1932 Los Angeles, a down-and-out defense attorney takes on the case of a lifetime.” The underlying theme of this series saw prejudices against social class, religion, race, wealth, poverty, sexuality and how the lines were blurred when it came to law enforcement and criminals. Aside from the main storyline, revolving around a horrific crime, the characters were all intertwined by their beliefs and their preconceived opinions about others.
Regardless of your opinions on the characters during episode one, I believe your opinions will change drastically before the end of episode eight. Not to spoil the story if you have not watched yet, just look inward and question your judgments and ask yourself why you feel the way you do.
Now, let’s take a look at Carnival Row. This drama was described as “a Victorian fantasy world filled with mythological immigrant creatures whose rich homelands were invaded by the empires of man. This growing immigrant population struggles to coexist with humans in the grimiest section of the city -- forbidden to live, love, or fly with freedom.” It is set in the early 1900s and explores the social system but with a twist. Not only does it look at the wealthy and the destitute, it also looks at humans and pixies, pucks and the assorted fae, at law enforcement and criminals, at good and evil and how most things are never what they seem.
Both shows really spoke to me on so many levels. I found myself not only sympathizing with the characters and their situations but also empathizing with the pain, the emotion, the heartache and the fear that they were experiencing due to no fault of their own.
Before you make another judgment, before you say another word about someone else, before you make another assumption, remember “…love one another” John 13:34