The current political climate has uncovered deeply rooted hatred in some and pain in others. Watching the news today is pretty reminiscent of the 60’s and 70’s (according to my parents and grandparents). The sight of police brutality, racially charged hate rallies or even reading some posts in which true hearts are revealed can be disheartening to say the least. We’d hope people would be sympathetic to the plight of a minority in America, specifically African Americans. No slight to other minorities, at all. I highlight this difference because it’s my culture, I live it and I have relatives who were actually alive during slavery. We’d hope someone else, although they have not had the same “American” experience, would decide to suffer with us. We’d hope they’d feel our pain, be sensitive to it and try putting themselves in our shoes right?😏 Differences cause lots of issues, race just happens to be an obvious one but it’s not the only one.
I’ve spent the last year in a predominantly Caucasian church. From the very beginning I felt like a fish out of water because, well, I’m different. It was literally culture shock in every sense of the word. Different people, different music, different service style, different leadership type just different. But like most black people born in the 80’s and later, we’re open to change and trying new things; so I dived in.🤸🏻♀️🕳
Needless to say, it was not fun nor a cake walk. I’ve found out I am a bit naive when it comes to my expecations of leaders everywhere but especially in the church. I have this strange idea that fairness and equity is a real thing people should operate in. I was SO wrong, lol! It appears hierarchy reigns (at most organizations) and we just have to fall in line. I can’t say whether or not this was intentional but it felt just like so many other things in the world; do things our way or face the consequences. Speaking up and out was usually dismissed as “the leader makes decisions and we have to follow them”. Okay, that’s obvious but at what point are we treated as individuals with minds, opinions, feelings and experiences and not a piece on an operational assembly line? If the person speaking out is different from you and your only rebuttal is “just do what the leader says” things start to seem a little strange and one sided.🧐
I’ve always been the one questioning status quo, searching for the truth/meaning behind things and willing to put myself out there for the sake of others. This is the first time in my life that this completely worked against me and I can’t find a reason other than I’m not like them….my approach, my thought process, my reasoning (or lack thereof), my experience, (you probably expected me to discuss race here, lol) there was not one string in which we could connect or be bonded although we were involved in the same ministry. How does that happen? Usually a group of singers or ushers or hospitality members find common ground strictly on the basis of working on the same team. So we have to ask ourselves, are we able to work with people who are not like us and actually value them? Or will we simply ask people to conform? Last time I checked scripture made it clear that we are not hear to conform to the views (racist, unaccepting, pious and cultish) of this world but be transformed in our minds (think, be, love like Jesus) and help others do the same (Romans 12:2). If we are not doing that in the church, what exactly are we doing? Church, of all places, should be one location where all colors, creeds, backgrounds, nationalities, personalites and the like can find peace and acceptance. And I don’t mean acceptance in the sense of do what you what, how you want and we’ll never say anything (that’s the extreme opposite of discrimination which isn’t cool either). But it should be a place where one feels safe.🙇🏻♀️
If things are happening in your local assembly where people believe they can’t speak up, and you are aware of this, you have a problem. There will always be an Alishia, somewhere. You know, the one who speaks up and out, asks questions, gets to the bottom of things, searches for deeper meaning and is all in all, an advocate. This person will likely be viewed as an agitator, rebel, leftist or anarachist of some sort; just reading those words will cause negative feelings in some people reading this, lol! But ask yourself, church leader, isn’t that EXACTLY what Jesus was, is and will be until He returns and cleans up this place? He challenged every thing that was not like his Father in Heaven. If anyone’s behavior, heart, rituals, practice or religion did not represent God he absolutely spoke up. He rebuked, He corrected, He chastised, HE SHOOK THINGS UP!! Ultimately causing people’s hearts to change and in turn created even more rebels! He was just as much ochampion as he was a troublemaker! Learn to embrace different views and perspectives. You may find some things could and should change simply because you willingly and enthusiatically accept the fact that I’m not like you……✊🏼👌🏼💪🏼✅💛💙💜💚🧡❤️🖤
Until the next time…..
#notetoself #notetous#differentiscool #advocate