PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

I know Pride and Prejudice is the title of Jane Austen’s 1813 romance novel, but that’s not what I’m thinking about as I write this post. What I have in mind is some people’s attitude about where they live in relation to where others live.

It first happened to me when I accepted the call to a small church in the Philadelphia area in 1975. A man I looked up to threw a wet blanket on my excitement when he asked me, “Why would you go there?” Then he added, “You could have gotten a good church here in Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana.” I loved growing up in and going to school in the Cincinnati area, but Jan and I also loved our 10 years in Philadelphia.

Our next move was in 1984 to small but growing community in Southern California and I took some hits from a few Midwesterners about going to the land of hippies and marijuana. That was bad enough, but once we settled in and started the church we moved to plant I often heard snide remarks about Moreno Valley from people who lived in Orange County and other more attractive places in the area. Jan and I thoroughly enjoyed and loved our 32 years in Moreno Valley.

Late last year we relocated to Amarillo, Texas, to be near our grandsons and I was surprised by the negative comments we received from a few in Southern California about the place to which we were moving. You might think I would be used to it, but I was shocked last week when we were in Dallas for a conference to have three different people respond negatively when they learned we were from Amarillo. For the record, Jan and I are overjoyed to be living in Amarillo, being a part of the community, fellowshipping with our new church, and being fully engaged with our grandsons.

I understand and applaud an appropriate pride in terms of where a person lives. I’ve had that in every place I have lived during my 66 years. What I don’t understand is the prejudice some have about the places where others live. It seems to me we can be positive about and pleased with our community without looking down on the communities of others.

I think the prophet Jeremiah’s advice to the Israelites who were taken captive to Babylon is good advice for Christians today regardless of where they live: This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:4-7).

Have pride in where you live and don’t be prejudiced against other places. And be sure to make the most of where you live.

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9 thoughts on “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

  1. We can so relate to this having moved from one city to another recently (3 yrs. ago) the most common comment we get is “Good move” referencing our prior city we moved from…we also have very fond memories of raising our four sons in Moreno Valley, attending an awesome church which we soooo miss, but this is a gentle reminder of geography…..we should still remain the same people we are no matter where we move to and that God’s love, grace and mercy is not dependent on my zip code.

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  2. I was often asked: ” Why did yo come here ” I really like the military saying: Bloom where you are planted! Happiness does not depend on where you live.

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  3. Bob, one of my favorite sayings is “Home is where your heart is” additionally Ruth 1:16 was the verse on our wedding invitation. While moving is never easy both physically and for the people we leave behind, I do believe that God guides believers if we commit to him. Thanks for you thoughts.

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  4. Thank you for this blog, Bob. It is so true! You can imagine what we’ve heard about moving to Alabama, yet everyone who has visited so far has been awed by the beauty. A family rift was caused when someone belittled Moreno Valley to my son. I know that if God created it, then it is good. If the area has a reputation for being a poor place to live it’s because many people speak out of ignorance. Amen to your post.

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  5. I can relate to what you write about, Bob, in a couple of days. First, when people heard I was born on Guam, they at first wondered where it was and then asked if I was an American. Then as I taught at Moreno Valley High School, many would say “Oh the ghetto school?” As I remember both my birthplace and the school where I taught for over 16 years, I have fond and lasting memories of both.

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