Mark’s Musings – The Richness of Our Differences

by | Apr 1, 2019 | South District Notes, South District Webpage

I finished this last Saturday regretting that I didn’t do a better job administering sunblock. The morning started for me at 3:30 AM so that I could go to Sierra Vista UMC to be a part of their 4th Annual Car Show. I have been to all their shows so far, and I didn’t want to miss this year. My car is still with my mechanic in Hereford, so I showed up at his house at 6:30 AM to pick it up. I needed time to get to the church and wash the car before the show started. Cars were already parking when I arrived.

Over the last thirteen years I have had several classic cars. Although no one believes me, my current car might be the one that I keep. I have a 1968 Mustang California Special. Although there are a lot of Mustangs around, only 4,118 California Specials were made. The best estimate that I have heard is that less than two thousand have survived, with just a couple hundred being entered in shows. This is something mostly noticed and appreciated by Mustang or Ford people. Yes, even with classic cars there is a tendency to divide people into groups. For there to be an “us” and a “them”. Why do we do that?

My favorite conversation of the day was with a fifteen year old girl and her parents. She doesn’t have a driver’s license yet, and already owns a Corvair from the sixties. She is working on fixing up her car. The look in her eyes told me that she is hooked on classic cars. Most of her friends will never understand this part of her! I told her that none of her friends will have a car like her car. She answered that all of her friends like modern cars, but not her.

The car that was parked next to my Mustang is one that I’m very familiar with. My mechanic has been building it for the last three years. It is a 1967 Camaro R/S convertible. The owner of the car is elated that is back on the road and looking better than new. The owner of the car was telling me that her best friend’s teen-age daughter is embarrassed to be seen riding in this old car. I wonder what she thinks of Corvairs.

In our world we are always looking for ways to put people into different groups. Then we proclaim that one group is better than another. How often do we say that the groups we belong to are the best? Instead of celebrating the richness of our differences, we mobilize to use our diversity as a weapon. Dr. Seuss addressed this issue with his story about the Sneetches. Have you ever heard of the Sneetches? If not, or if it has been a long time, I encourage you to do a search as soon as you finish reading this article (no, finish reading this article first!). Watch the full version that will be just a little over twelve minutes. You should be able to find the video by searching for “Dr. Seuss Sneetches”.

What is a Sneetch? They look like a distant cousin of Big Bird. Some of the Sneetches have a green star on their belly, while others are of the plain variety. The green star Sneetches consider themselves to be vastly superior to the plain Sneetches. Then Sylvester McMonkey McBean shows up with his star-on machine—with an introductory offer of half off. The green star Sneetches are outraged that they can no longer tell themselves apart from the plain variety. McBean offers a solution with his star-off machine—at a significantly higher price. Superiority is once again put in place! Then everyone goes wild using McBean’s services. When the Sneetches spend their last cent, McBean leaves with his machines, much richer than when he arrived. As McBean leaves, he laughs, and says: “They never will learn, no, you can’t teach a Sneetch”. The Sneetches, however, prove Sylvester McMonkey McBean wrong. They decide “Sneetches are Sneetches, and no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches”.

It is my sincere desire that someday we learn the lesson that Dr. Seuss was teaching. I wonder if Dr. Seuss was inspired by Jesus’ teachings? Won’t it be great when we can say that people on Earth are as wise as Sneetches on the beaches?!?

              Your brother on the journey, Mark

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Author: Mark Conrad

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