Do you remember Pink Floyd? Do your remember singing from the soul, “We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control. Or dark sarcasm in the classroom.” I remember singing this song, moving with the sweet sound of the guitar solo, bouncing my head, shaking my fist, to the rhythm of the words. “Hey, Teacher leave those kids alone. All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall. All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.”
This song, it is so easy to immerse oneself into, because it is relateable. As a child, who didn’t want to scream out about the injustice they felt in a system that demanded conformity to an incredibly specific degree. “You will dress, think, act, present yourself to the rules set before you on this piece of paper, because we adults know better.” But as kids, we were searching, on the hunt for our individuality, for our person, in the midst of circumstances that were broad and wide, and well beyond our control.
In the midst of the pressure to be as the world suggests, when one gets the great courage to stand up and make a statement publicly shaping their identities to fit something that resembled alignment with personal self, they often are told no, don’t do that. That’s not acceptable. You’re out of line. You’re not thinking clearly. That’s not socially appropriate. That’s not… The internal me, that resonates deep in the core of our being, is meet with bricks in the wall, and the system seems to stack them higher and higher with each unique attempt to be an individual self.
Now hear me say, a measure of conformity, is necessary for the well being of society. When we play Uno, we must establish the house rules. Do we stack draw fours or not? Agreeing that 911 is the way we will call for help in an emergency benefits us when the medical emergencies of life become reality for us. Things, like agreeing not to murder, steal, lie, cheat, this goes a long way to building relationships that are trust worthy.
But inside of those boundaries that are meant to develop and protect relationships and promote life, are bricks stacked which cause separation and division. I reflect often on the boarding school policies that took root in these United States. These policies sanctioned removal of indigenous youth from their homes to live in an “appropriate” school environment so they could learn “how to be”. How to be what? More civilized? More white? More protestant? The goal of intentional assimilation caused intense damage, all in the name of “helping.” “All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.”
Stop and Consider
Those bricks that build walls, the bricks that create hard lines of separation between us as individuals and self? The bricks that destroy a persons ability to be who they were created to be? Have you ever considered the bricks in the wall of your life? Maybe they are bricks named fear, or a brick named self loathing? Maybe your brick is a traumatic event perpetrated against you, like abuse, bulling, robbery, or rape? Could your brick be an addiction like alcoholism or drug abuse? Maybe the bricks that block your way are false ideas about gender, ethnicity, or physical ability?
Bricks, those objects, events, and actions that cause separation between us and others, they are a part of our life, and they come at us in many different sizes and shapes; greed, jealousy, desire, competition, murder… Some bricks look safe, until they are not: Control masquerading as generosity.
In the midst of the bricks.
Yes, bricks are everywhere, with the exception of one place, the place of genuine generosity, and it is my experience that genuine generosity, begins in Christ, who Christ is for each of us individuals, and for the world.
“This is how much God loved the world; He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed. [remember sin destroys] by believing in him anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point and accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” (John 3:16-17)
What an amazing over-the-top amount of generosity God gives to his creation. That God loves us enough to let a piece of himself die for us, but even better is the depth of that love, that God chooses to live for us, as Jesus, God incarnate, to live among the bricks with us. God sends his son to help put the world right again. Jesus reaches out and touches those who should not be touched. He heals those who are “unworthy” of healing. He loves those that were not to be loved. He breaks the silence of the oppressed by speaking to them, giving them room to speak their story, offering them forgiveness, a generous hand, and a new narrative of healing and life.
Bricks remind us of the bad, of the pain, of the hurt, and we, in our need can use those same brick to build walls, that give us a pseudo sense of protection from the pain. However in Christ the bricks are shattered, the wall is destroyed. The bricks that were used to make barriers, are now tools by which we can build bridges, or stairs, pathways to help others. Those bricks no longer define our boundaries keeping us in, or others out, because we are rooted in who Christ is for us, and in Christ they become a platform for us to help others. We stand on our wounds, we live out of our scares, healed by who Christ is for us, our savior, able to enter into life with others. The wall is torn down.
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