The Trouble with Generalization


Whenever we generalize people — the poor, the rich, the elderly, teenagers, the clergy, the laity, etc., we dehumanize them. I was visiting a large church when I heard one of the members state that he didn’t like women pastors. This surprised me. I asked him, “What about Sally?” Sally was one of the three clergy at the church. “Oh, Sally…she’s different!” was the reply. This female clergy had a name — and with that, a relationship with this member. That, I think, was the difference.

We may be tempted to generalize the rich — since so few of us belong to that category. The rich man is not named, but he is also not condemned for being rich, but for his indifference and uncaring attitude towards poor Lazarus right outside his door. Remember that Abraham was wealthy, and he isn’t in the place of torment.

Brian Stoffregen, Exegetical Notes

Leave A Comment