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Christianity 0ut of the Box

Upstairs or Downstairs?

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Getting hooked on 18th- to 19th century protocol is easy if you watch “Downton Abbey.” Admitting this backdrop of history has taken America by storm is an understatement.  Here we are at the end of football season and “Carson” brings as much attention as does the playoffs.abbey house

The storyline is tense and at times “quirky” but very old English at its core. Interestingly is the downstairs servants quarters is as exciting as the Aristocratic “Crawley” family drama upstairs. Either way there are few dull moments even with an elaborate table of exquisite china set for a bunch of prudish, gossiping, wealthy tea lovers.

When my husband and I began watching this sequel of histrionic theater I began questioning the “class” system that is so prevalently displayed.

Upstairs were the lives of the rich and famous.
Downstairs were the lives of those born to serve those rich and famous.

Upstairs were the affluent and educated of society. The men spent their time hunting, playing poker and smoking smelly cigars. The women strolled around in ugly hoop skirts eventually becoming the very unflattering “Flapper Dress.”  Hair was covered in a Pompadour Hair Frame that worked well with the Edwardian Hats. Evening wear included ornamentation such as feathers. Sorry, but the “fashion designers” would not have sold much to me.Lady with an Ostrich feather hat

Downstairs the servants and maids worked long hard hours making sure the upstairs was fit for the elite crowd. .  As employment went, many preferred to work in these great homes of the wealthy opposed to farm labor or worse.

The difference in living upstairs or downstairs depended a great deal on your inheritance or quality. Whatever your status was when you were born became your legacy.  Great emphasis was placed on keeping the sacred family line a tradition. Unfortunately the Christian church encouraged these classifications to continue blood lines. Due to such a breach of life, thriving any higher for those who were born downstairs was almost impossible.

downton-abbey-servants

The truth statistically was only 2-3% of the general population were considered aristocratic or of noble descent.

“Lifestyles of the rich and famous” was not advocated in the Bible, but neither was class warfare.

Galatians 6:10 “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

It is no secret Jesus fondness for the Pharisees was less than desirable. His unique responses or reactions to their accusations left these men of educated fervor constantly wondering what he was going to do next. He referenced his wisdom with mystery.

The scene he made in the temple revealed “justified anger.” His emotional love for the Father and his House wasn’t questioned once he began turning over tables of money. (Matthew 21:12)

The actions Jesus mirrored when he rescued the woman caught in adultery were priceless. Who would think to bend over in the middle of a public accusation to write in the sand? What did he write? Was he passing time? Was he waiting for the other half of the accused to show up?

Hopefully one day we will know what he wrote. But his delay or pause created a sense of anxiety and frustration in the Pharisees.  Handing them a rock to be the first to throw at her was unexpected especially when he added “if none of you have ever sinned…”

Jesus was fair, balanced and the master of charismatic expression. His perfect oratory qualities could minister to the poor or shift the tone in a room full of hypocritical Jewish leaders.

His example of heeding the call to the truth lends to impartiality. No lie comes from the truth. When truth prevails there is no bias. Therefore what is true for one person is true for the next person.

In other words, there should never be an “upstairs or downstairs.”

God wants us all on the same floor; his floor.

“Jesus Told Us Where to Find Him. Just Look for an Outcast.”

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

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5 thoughts on “Upstairs or Downstairs?

  1. You told this story well enough I want to see the show now also. I want to tell you how much I love your background photo. It is so beautiful

    • Thank you Terry. It is a good show. I have a Windows 8 app that has the most wonderful backgrounds. i am using them a lot now. I continue to pray for you and Al. Lately I have had too many people in serious situations that prayer is needed so much.

  2. Some stats show that 85 (yes, that’s eighty five) individuals control as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population. Before we get complacent or smug, we should see clearly how our lifestyles affect the rest of the world, especially the poor. I cringe when I hear Christians use the Bible verse about always having the poor as an excuse to do nothing.
    Bless you Cathy!

    • Agreed here Vince. Truly as I began watching this show the rules/regulations imposed are ridiculous. Now that I think about it, I have a question for you. Do you think in the Bible when Jesus, or Paul or those who wrote using the word, “slave” did he mean it to be a slave like these people are in downton abbey or a slave to bondages that we place ourselves in? or both? the phrase “either slave or free” is used. What is your thought?

      • Slavery can take on different meanings.

        In Gal 3:28 it reads, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
        This means we are all equal in Christ.

        In Ephesians 6:5 it talks about slaves being obedient to their masters. In Paul’s time, a slave was a servant. They were not necessarily treated poorly, and they were important to the household.

        Finally, we should be slaves to Christ (Romans 1:1). There is nothing better than being a slave to a perfect master.

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