This new year, I'm grateful for connections and friendships with people from around the country and the world, from different cultures, backgrounds, education levels, political opinions, religious beliefs, etc.
Started off my new year with ecstatic joy with Georgian & Winnie Banov,, who have quite the story of escape from communism to freedom in the US and do awesome stuff helping orphans around the world.
Then spent some great time with an amazing Holy Spirit-filled lady and her husband who has quite the story. Grew up in inner city Detroit as a white person surrounded by blacks, was delivered out an abusive relationship only to be hitched to her current, awesome husband and has a number of inter-racial relationships in her family.
We watched "Fences." Great, poignant movie.
I was struck by this new friend's description of talking race-relations stuff with her young mixed grandchild (11 or so) who apparently was scared by someone dressing like a clown for Halloween and spreading awful race-hatred against blacks. I don't understand why someone would do that to a child. This led to a conversation with white grandma and mixed grandchild about "Do white people hate black people?"
It really is amazing when you spend time with someone and see that there is more beyond what you may know when you first encounter them.
I'm hoping that this year we can see some further progress in this area. Please don't think that this is all billionaire funded incitations or a liberal media narrative. I do think that some would try to take advantage of violent incidents to stir division and their own narrative. But don't be fooled. There is more healing for our nation in this area.
Just because there have been civil rights breakthroughs and we live in a nation where a black man has been president, and race related discrimination and injustices may not affect you personally or happen before your eyes, please don't pretend like it doesn't exist. Also, let's not act as if the past has not affected our present and expect that civil rights legislation alone cured all the ails of the past. We must forgive and not be bound by holding onto the wrongs but let us not forget it's been a journey.
Some see the grievances of some of those of color and say "get over it, there's no issue here."
On both sides, there can be a quickness to label and dismiss. We can be quick to dismiss claims of discrimination and can also be quick to label people as racist. But none of this helps us actually hear each other and move forward.
Let's walk with people. And if someone is trapped in a victim mindset, let's empower them beyond that.
Let me also say, I understand where people come from when they say "I don't see color." In Christ, I do seek to have eyes to see wonderful human beings before my eyes, beautiful image bearers, loved immensely with desires and with pains just like me. I embrace the concept of a universal humanity and in my view, it comes from a benevolent creator and we're all made in his image.
(In his cross, the perfect image bearer took on the victimhood, victimization and all the vitriole of humanity in all its forms and gives a new life, identity and way to live in relationship with God and others. In this cataclysmic event where God took on humanity, humanity can participate in with him in death from our stubborn ways and come into union with his life and a fresh empowered nature and perspective that brings a different culture of life to the world. There's a new creation and the "kingdom of heaven" is at hand.)
But also understand that many people of color live very aware on a regular basis of their color when they step into situations. Many people of color don't have the blessing of the knowledge of a connection to a well of heritage that their family came from. And In our universal humanity ideals sometimes we miss the flavors and tapestry that comes from people of different backgrounds and the impact that history can make on the present including systems of society or predisposed attitudes and assumptions.
This year, make some friends with people who don't look like you or come from where you come from. Get to know their stories.
There was a lot of fear in 2016. Let's let 2017 be a year of courageous love! #championsoflove