I woke up this morning, went through the routine which always includes turning on the Today show, and listened to Al’s weather forecast. Once again, it included the phrase “Showers in Seattle”. Once again I wandered outside, laptop in tow, and gazed up at a gorgeous sunrise lifting over the eastern mountains. Into my car, morning radio conversing with me, and it’s down the hill toward the water and caffeine. No showers in sight. In fact, as I came in for my usual, the usuals were already there commenting on, of all things, the gorgeous morning outside on the beach. Once again I’m bugged.
I’m bugged because once again, people all over the nation will arise to the authority of the network weather god and learn that people in Seattle must be ridiculous to endure the soaking that we are surely always getting. One more day, I’ll take phone calls from people in other parts of the world with that condescending “poor pitiful you” tone in their voice, inquiring about when the rain might stop, while I glance outside wondering what the heck they’re talking about. Anyway, it may sound trivial, but that’s where I’m at this morning.
It has occurred to me that this is how stereotypes are born. I don’t deny that, more than likely, somewhere out here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s probably raining this morning. But from my experience, that rarely means “Seattle”. I live in Seattle, not a suburb, not a wanna be, not the county, but actually within the city limits. Someone I know once proclaimed, about an eastern suburb, “well when they think of that they’re really referring to Seattle”. That’s their problem. Just because they think that doesn’t make it so. I have to admit to the same semantics in my own existence. I tell people that I’ve moved from Syracuse because they wouldn’t know where in the hell Pennelville is. I understand that method of connection. However I do think that it contributes to stereotypes and those are rarely a good thing.
I live within the worlds of stereotyping and I live to break the ones that I’m included in. I’m a pastor and I love people never being able to figure that out. I hold to the Christian faith and it brings me major levels of joy to correct that one as well. I’m a husband madly in love with his wife and a dad who tries to stay involved in the life of his kids and consequently, Hollywood would never recognize me. That is just the way I like it. I spend my life suspended between two very easily stereotyped groups, Christians and artists. And the really interesting part as I live in two worlds is that the views of each toward the other can be extremely stereotypical. It’s my mission in life to enlighten people to the amazing concept that God has no stereotypes. Everyone is unique and not to be placed in a box that is not of theirs or His design.
Certainly we all have tendencies that are probably born out of environment, more than creation, however, each has the capability and right to be unique. We answer only to our creator. We’re only responsible for His design. I could wake up each morning, and rely on the forecast given by someone on the other side of the continent. Or I could choose to walk outside, lift my head up and feel the sun. Just so you know Al, it’s not raining in Seattle today.