Aug 11, 2010

Kids Are Not Born Bigots - We Teach them to be That Way

The diverse people groups Jesus interacted with included, but were not limited to men, women, children, shepherds, wise men from foreign countries, fishermen, synagogue officials, the diseased, the demon-possessed, those prone to seizures, the paralyzed, lepers, centurions, the blind, the mute, zealots, Pharisees, Sadducees, hometown citizens, teachers of the law, physicians, tax collectors, the rich, the chief priests, soldiers, governors, thieves, widows, prostitutes, beggars, kings, wedding guests, public officials, Jews, Cannanites, Samaritans, and Syrophenicians. 
(Sarah Cunningham "Dear Church: Letters from a Disillusioned Generation).

Jesus never had issues with multi-culturalism or diversity. Jesus practiced multi-culturalism and diversity long before we ever had a name for them. To Jesus, people are his children in need of grace, forgiveness, and new life. Nothing more nothing less.

Why is it that we have such a hard time practicing what is so natural.

I relearned this truth on my recent trip with my kids. We spent a weekend with a few family friends. On a beautiful afternoon, all the girls were sitting on a log watching the tide roll in (Kaitlin, Katie, Ava, Kianna, Kailey, Karis, and Karis). Coming upon this scene one of the adults started singing, "Which one of these things is not like the other? Which one of these things doesn't belong?" And she asked the kids. To which the kids replied, "All the kids name start with a "K" sound while Ava starts with "A".

But what the adults were thinking was that all the kids were dark-haired and of Asian descent while Ava is a blond, blue-eyed, as white as you can get white kid.

What looked so obvious to the adults was not so obvious to the kids. They didn't see the color and racial difference until the adult mentioned it to them.

Multi-cutural diversity is built into human beings. Children don't see color. They see people.

It's so sad, but the truth is bigotry and racial profiling is a learned trait, and our society is too good at teaching this trait to our children.

Is it any wonder that Christ says that unless we all become like children we will not inherit the Kingdom of heaven.

God, may our churches reflect the beauty of all your cultural and racial diversity found in your created world.


Sarah Cunningham said...

That's a great illustration. Thanks for sharing my work. Let me know if I can ever be of any service. sarahraymondcunningham (at) gmail (dot) com.

Sandy said...

Very true!!! I've noticed that with my own children. Thanks for helping us adults remember this simple fact. :o) Miss you guys!!!

My parents just got back from Seattle the other day and said that it's been unusually cold up there!! It's unusually HOT down here!! :o)

teacher_deb said...

UM..YEAH! My family is pretty diverse..I have several kids..two were born to me three were brought to me by God's infinite wisdom and the state of Washington. The kids as young children had no kind of thinking about racicim and bigotry..too bad I could not protect them they gew up and went to school they found out about it and are learning to cope with it even as adults.. We need prayers and thoughtful considerations in this world sometimes we are not even aware of how we may be thinking or speaking in an exclusive way insead of an inclusive way.