There has been so much in the news lately about racism. I hate even opening the browser to see the latest headlines. I won't pretend that racism doesn't exist in the hearts of many but I also won't deny that my God frowns upon it. He desires for us to walk in love and we are all His children and He loves us equally. He wants us to do the same. I am blessed to attend an equally mixed church here in the south where there are a multitude of races represented. I even live in a neighborhood where we are frequently polled because of how diverse we are. It has never phased us to welcome each child into our home and to allow our kids to go to the homes of others. We all welcome each other with open arms and smile with a genuine love. We all serve the same God.
But at times I sense there is still a problem.
I think we've swung too far on the other side of the pendulum with the race issue. Before there was so much focus on race that it caused division. Now there is so little emphasis on it that it still causes division.
I want to know more about the heritage and history of those in my community. Despite what others think not all descendants of Africa are from Nigeria; not all descendants of Europe are from England; and not all descendants of Asia are from China and so on. Puerto Ricans are not Mexican even though they both speak Spanish. Native Americans are not from India even though they are called Indians. There is great differences and misconceptions in each person even if the skin color, language, or culture is similar. This is where we fail.
I want us to overturn the whole "color blind" philosophy. The beauty lies within the color; the heritage. I'm of Scottish and French descent. I grew up thinking my history was that of British or Northern European descent. We aren't taught our own history here in most schools so it is long forgotten. It is lumped together with every other European's history. Until I began to uncover my own roots I had no idea the beauty that it held or the fact that the history of my people greatly influenced my present way of life.
It is the same with others. To know and understand our cultures and heritages is to understand our mannerisms, our way of life.
My point is that we don't know enough about each other to be completely comfortable...yet. Sure, our church family has broken ground with many relationships and we have many friends of many races but I believe it is because we've taken the time to ask others about their culture. We really took the time to get to know them. As a whole, God's body is on it's way to unity. We have to break through this barrier to continue.
I've learned that what used to be unusual was simply unfamiliar. We all have different traditions, languages (hardly anyone understands my Cajun dialect), fashion, names, history, strengths, cuisines, weaknesses, and so much more. Until we embrace that about each other we will remain distant.
We tend to be uncomfortable with that which is unfamiliar.
It is easy to ignore all of these things and just be "color blind" but that doesn't connect us. That doesn't engage us. That doesn't strengthen us. I encourage you to really connect with others. Genuinely get to know the person first. Then you will be able to start talking about cuisine, genealogy or countries of descent.
Our Father loves to do that. The bible is full of history, genealogy, cultures, and diversity. It only makes sense that we'd follow Him in this too.
In what ways do you seek to get to know and connect with others?