I didn’t believe my ears. I was listening to a piece on NPR’s show “Marketplace” in which it was mentioned an “experiment where Fiske put volunteers in MRIs, and showed them pictures of people from different classes. When they got to the photos of really poor people, the part of the brain that normally lights up when we see another human being just didn’t light up.” (http://www.marketplace.org/topics/wealth-poverty/happily-ever-after-cross-class-marriage).
We’ve so separated ourselves from folks who are poor and different that we have literally dehumanized them.
The folks in that study and others like them haven’t met Larry. Larry is part of my church family, and if you’re around Milwaukee you might see him with a cart full of cans. He collects what we throw away in order to supplement his disability payments. But Larry is more than any label of poor or disabled. Larry has raised money for Outreach for Hope, serves as an usher and greeter, and loves to take pictures. I am proud to say that Larry is a theologian.
The other day he was helping myself and the youth to get ready for our monthly Community Night. Lately we’ve been using sidewalk chalk as an evangelism tool. I was busy chalking, “God loves You” when Larry interrupted me. “Don’t write that” he said. “Write everyone–God loves everyone”. So, chalk one up for Larry!