One of my favorite sections of the Appalachian Trail is known as the Triple Crown because of three majestic views; Tinker Cliffs, McAfee Knob, and Dragon Tooth. Of the three, the one that has always captivated me is one I first hiked about 20 years ago, McAfee Knob. It is considered the most photographed spot on the A.T.
Photos of my last trip there have been showing up in my Facebook memories the last few days. What a trip! The first night we camped just short of the Knob. That night we heard from north bounders the view was overrun with people. We had an inkling this might be the case when we drove by the parking area earlier in the day. But we had no idea what we were in for. We arrived the next morning to find a sea of people had already descended on the vista. We practically had to take a number to get a picture of the iconic image. My blood began to boil a wee bit. As we continued our hike we passed a wave of people hiking up the trail to this spot. My blood boiled a little more. These people were ruining it! Sipping McDonald’s, music blasting, and no understanding of trail etiquette how dare they invade this sacred spot!
Not too long ago I was researching kayaks and came across a site where a guy, I’ll call him an elitist, was railing against people in their $100 plastic Walmart canoes ruining the sport of kayaking. My thought was, “What a jerk!” He should appreciate more people are enjoying the sport he loves. It was as I was grumbling about the sea of people I was reminded of my reaction to his rant. I heard the still small voice of rebuke. “You’re being an elitist! These people are learning to appreciate what I have created.” The rebuke was well-timed and spot on. I needed it.
Sadly, I have seen and engaged in this attitude in the church. It is easy to have an elitist attitude towards others that don’t fit our preconceived ideal. People walk through the doors who don’t conform to our image and on some measure we balk. We’ll be polite but not embrace. We’ll say hello but not invest. This has never been the vision of Jesus when he saw people. We must endeavor to appreciate anyone our Savior appreciates. They walk through the doors longing to experience the God we love. Churched or unchurched (I loathe those terms) we should love.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
I am at times an elitist. Father forgive me. Elitism has no place in the heart of anyone who professes Christ as Lord. We embrace who He embraces.
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Rob Jeffrey, Pastor - Bradford Alliance Church