Societal Rules vs. Biblical Rules

This past Monday, I had the privilege to sit under the tutelage of Noelle Beck, the Executive Director of a parachurch teen ministry called First Glance. As Noelle was explaining the cultural differences her ministry deals with versus a ministry like mine, she directed us to Ruby K. Payne‘s book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty.

One of the charts Noelle shared with us from this book, shows great insight into the hidden rules that each social class exists within. Check out the diagram HERE.

As you view the diagram…think of what a 4th category, titled “Christ Follower,” would entail. A good exercise in showing the things we value, may not in fact be biblical, but simply cultural (i.e. safety, good education, saving money, etc.)


~ by Dave Smith on October 1, 2008.

4 Responses to “Societal Rules vs. Biblical Rules”

  1. What I find interesting is that no group seems to have inherent superiority over another in any given category.

    There was a time when I believed it was more spiritual to be poor…and it’s all too easy to feel like you’ve done everything right when wealth comes along.

    But we all wrestle to what degree the people, places, and things in our lives are going to mean to us.

    Take clothing for example…it’s valued by all 3 groups but for different reasons. And, the poor and weathly are equally “guilty” for the value they can place on clothing.

    Contrast that with Christ’s statement, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (mt 6:25)

  2. Great observation about the superiority comment. Never thought of it that way…and interesting how a grid like this can detract or highlight any feelings of superiority in us.

  3. I was struck by your comment about adding a fourth column: Christ-Follower. It’s an intriguing idea, but I don’t think that can be one more column. It might be three more columns, or it might be a row that goes across all the columns. Or an overlay through which all three columns are filtered.

    The thing is, when we become Christ-Followers, we still have our class-based habits, skills, and assumptions. Hopefully being Christian will influence the way we live, but we will be living as Christ-following middle-class people, or whichever class we come from.

  4. Good point Rebecca.

    You are definitely thinking in a way that call for integration and remaining in our class system for missional impact.


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