The training was hosted by the General Board of Global Ministries for the United Methodist Church, an agency dedicated to connecting the church in mission from a global perspective. During training, my colleagues and I were invited to break the chains of bondage relating to power and privilege.
The first-class flight was contradicting because the oath that I pledged a few days before stated that I would vow to become a co-creator of God’s work of liberation, justice and faith. But then I had immediately become, for a moment, an active participant in the very same systems of oppression that I spoke about breaking.
This is a question that we constantly wrestle with in many aspects, but specifically in matters of social class. While on the flight, I also noticed the differences of treatment in first-class compared to economy: the “welcome address” was offered by the CEO of the airline through the LCD monitors while the welcome address for the attendees in economy were given by the flight attendant.
So, what are we really purchasing when it comes to buying a first class ticket, literally and spiritually? In many ways, and like the purchase of other products, we feel we are paying for convenience, comfortability, and overall better quality, but what does that fulfill in lieu of our understanding of loving our neighbor as Christians? We are living and participating in a society that says honor and luxury are terms associated with first class.
It is imperative for us as a collective body of Christ to remember that “iron sharpens iron” and we can only embrace this teaching by putting feet on our conversations and stepping out of the contradictions of systems that we proclaim to be counter to the gospel. We must model it well, first.