Next week, we’ll talk about race and church. You know. The fact that the American church still remains divided among racial lines. It’s a topic I’ve wondered about for a very long time. Today, Kendra Tillman introduces the topic with her perspective. (Tomorrow, I’ll be at incourage.me, talking about the trip I took to Haiti with Help One Now, and Pure Charity.)
I truly can’t ever remember a time when race hasn’t been ingrained in my world view. And I don’t know how it’s possible to go through life and never think about race. I do know the season of life when my world view started to shift.
My husband and I were married on a warm Saturday morning in Louisiana and we moved to Arizona the following Monday. It was our Abrahamic experience (as I like to think of it), moving 1200 miles away from our family and friends to a land where we knew NO one, except the people at work. As I reflect on this time in my life, I can see God had plans to transform and renew my mind about many areas of my life. My closest and dearest friends have been my examples and mentors to me.
Ericka and I have been friends since 1998, the year she got married and moved to Arizona where I was already living as a newlywed. Our friendship and those with my other Arizona friends are the longest friendships I’ve had. Even though we didn’t meet until we were adults, like most people who share a common culture we had some similar childhood experiences. We both can recall the weekend hair rituals that we endured as young girls. The ritual of getting your hair washed, air dried, combed out, pressed or braided could take an entire weekend. When you were “tender-headed” you dreaded the weekends when you would “get your hair done”. We remember being squeezed between our mom or aunts or grandmothers legs and getting “popped” in the head with a big black comb, if you couldn’t keep still. Nostalgia overtakes us and we laugh when we tell our stories to uninterested, restless daughters who just want us to finish their hair.
One of the qualities I’ve admired most about Ericka is her seemingly effortless ability (and willingness) to establish a close circle of friends who don’t all look like her. Last year, however, God moved them from Arizona to Indianapolis. My friend, the one who entered married life a year after me, moved.
Ericka had made a life in Arizona for 14 years and the transition hasn’t been easy. They’ve made friends, been welcomed with open arms by their community and, as I would expect, they’ve made friends with a diverse mix of people. But something happens on Sunday mornings.
For both our families we aren’t just members of our church. Our church is an extension of our family. It’s a place for God to develop our gifts, our talents and a passion to serve Him in the church and in the world. For a family who was plugged in, rooted in to our church, moving and finding a church home has been one of the biggest hurdles Ericka and her family have faced. The quote, “the most segregated hour in America is Sunday morning” has become her experience as her family looks for a new church home. Why is this?
We tend to gravitate to sameness, to look for people or environments to identify with. Different challenges us. It makes us uncomfortable. Unless we’ve been in the minority in some area of our life, we aren’t sensitive or conscious of the isolation that being different—one of a few who look, think or believe like you do—can cause.
Segregation is not an option for the believer. I know that word can feel loaded. It feels loaded to me. But we need to face the truth, head on.
As Christians we are all tied, connected, united through the blood that was shed for us. Segregation separates, isolates and disunites us. When we live lives where our circles or spheres of influence are segregated, we send the wrong message. This message disunites us as a body, the body of Christ.
Our words may say we don’t agree with segregated proms, churches, and schools, but do our lives reflect something different?
Have you heard of Lecrae? He’s a Christian hip hop artist (a poet, in my opinion). This song captures the heart of this post.
They like me forget about the color I might be
It’s likely they just like me
We different but the same we covered by the blood of the King
They like me they like me they like me
They say we shouldn’t get along cause our different skin tones
But I promise you they oh so wrong oh so wrong
They like me
What recent experience have you had as the minority? How has it changed your perception of what it may be like to experience it on a daily basis?
Kendra Tillman is the creator of The Savvy WAHM blog and the WAHM’s biggest cheerleader. She provides life and business strategies for work at home mom entrepreneurs on her weekly radio show, WAHM Success Radio. She’s a wife, mom of 3, daughter, friend, runner/athlete, writer, entrepreneur, radio show host, world traveler, adventure seeker, disciple of Christ, and a dangerous dreamer. She makes her home in Chandler, AZ with her 4 favorite people in the world: her husband and their 3 children. Follow Kendra on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.