"We like to generalize; God likes to particularize."
That was the recurring thread in Joel Gregory's magnificent sermon at the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant in Atlanta in January. We generalize. We put people into categories like "African" or "poor," label situations as "tragic" or "unsolvable" or "tribal wars," and dismiss our own culpability in the world's systems of oppression as a product of living in our time and place.
But God doesn't work that way. God doesn't see "AIDS orphans" or "refugees" or "victims of war." God doesn't label people as "businessmen" or "lawyers" or "teachers" or "doctors." Nor does God define others as "terrorists" or "extremists" or "jihadis."
God sees people. People with names and faces and families and stories. God sees you and God sees me. God sees Olivier. Because in the kingdom of God, where everyone is created in the image of God, simple categories just don't work very well.
Labels let us push a person away, give us an excuse to remain disengaged. Particularties, however, have a way of drawing us in and forcing us to act.
Generalizations are a lot easier.