In a January 2016 Rasmussen report on race relations in America, this was the opening paragraph. “Confidence in race relations in America continues to fall, with hopes for the future at their lowest level yet.”
The Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 50% of American adults now think race relations in this country are getting worse, up from 44% a year ago and 30% as recently as January 2014. Only 20% believe race relations are getting better, a new low that compares to 38% five years ago. Twenty-six percent (26%) say race relations are staying “about the same.”
With such a decline in race relations, it appears even more likely the dream of a church that reflects heaven is impossible. Tensions today are so high and trust in our fellow man of a different race and ethnic background so small. How can we come together?
I am still not sure why God designed me the way he did yet. Nevertheless, from an early age, I seemed to live my life in two worlds. My first school experience provided me the unique opportunity to attend school with Anglo children in a Lutheran grade school. If my memory serves me correctly, there were never more than three African American students on that campus at the same time. By day, I was around white German Lutherans. I will give you some insight into my background. It is the foundation of my education. We were taught to read and write by people who were born and raised in the Midwest and called to serve this Deep South school in the heart of Louisiana. Our unique southern dialect was not allowed, so you could say it is in this place I learned to articulate. My southern accent was discouraged, and replaced by a more Midwestern dialect. As a person who by the grace of God, am blessed to live my life in two worlds, let me share with you some observations.
By night, I was around my family, all African American. Being from the South, we had no mixing of the races in my family yet. I lived in a black neighborhood and had black friends at home and white friends at school. Those two groups never mixed. I had to learn at an early age to navigate between these two worlds, but not just navigate it…at times I had to interpret it.
You are now entering a series of blogs that I pray will open the lines of communication for the church and maybe race relations in general. I will take you on the journey I traveled. Through the trip, you will see people, differently than you see them today. Today I am still living between these two worlds and translating the behavior and intent of two cultures that struggle to understand each other. Today the groundwork is laid. Every Tuesday on my blog will be another in this series until God says it’s time to move on. I pray you will join me on this. I am dying to see what God does with it. Peace out for now.
These are the blogs in this series on diversity.