Monday, July 19, 2010


I was reminded today of a trip several years ago to the York County Fair. My wife and I decided to spend a few dollars and tour the sideshow, just off the carnival midway. It was painted with the typically sensational murals – the bearded lady, the world’s smallest woman and the like.

Having never been to what used to be rather cruelly called a “freak show” before I didn’t know what to expect. My experience that evening was so excruciatingly uncomfortable it remains a vivid memory: people on display, to be looked at like specimens in cages, oddities behind glass. Except that they weren’t behind glass! They were on display and in most cases in little more than cages and boxes – and as I looked at them, they looked at me. Nothing separating me from them; and as I looked into their eyes I realized that they were people – living, breathing creations of a Loving God. And it was wrong. Just so starkly wrong that I couldn’t stay and complete the “tour.” I was ashamed of myself for having gone in to begin with.

I was reminded of this by a movie we watched tonight called “The Butterfly Circus.” One scene takes place in a circus sideshow and as the barker prepares to throw back the curtain he says, “a man [so deformed] that even God has turned his back on him.”

The group I’m with talked for a few minutes tonight about that single line; “even God has turned his back.” I was excited to be able to say to them, “That is not the way God works!”

We may feel worthless and insignificant, but in God’s eyes we have infinite value. Humanity looks on the outward things. God looks on the inward things and examines our heart. Our worth is not determined by the value that others place upon us, but by the value that God places upon us. There is nothing about us that’s accidental or insignificant. Because of Christ, we are  filled with promise and purpose. That makes all the difference in the world.

1 comment:

Missy said...

I admit that I am sort of taken aback that these sorts of things still exist in our country. To put someone on display as an "oddity". I think that these particular folks probably end up feeling like this is the only place that they can go to feel any sort of acceptance at all. To be a "freak" among "freaks" makes you feel a lot less like a freak. I think that in such a situation it is the "normal" person that feels strange. I wonder if when you decide to join such an act, or when you are thrust into it by fearful parents or mean spirited people or tricked into it by money hungry people you think about it as your only option as far as a career. You feel like no one will take you seriously or treat you well in society without calling yourself a freak - without putting yourself on display. I don't know what else to say here really, except I felt like I should respond, like something should be done - like this is really a human rights issue - but it goes much deeper than that - because who would hire these people besides the circus? And how can we remedy that? And should we?