November 10, 2016 — By maree

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for us to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1

 

From my exploration on the internet I found a blog written by a woman named Colleen Mitchell. It was written on July 6, 2016 after a particularly violent week when two black men were killed by police officers and five law enforcement officers were killed. Her inspiration is drawn from this tragedy to expose our unwillingness to learn about others; our comfort with our isolation and polarization.  And while her points address the racial divide in the United States, she makes points that I believe will resonate with all of us no matter the circumstances.  Colleen's article is titled, "Why I Don't Want to be Your White Ally."  While some of you may be put off by the title, I want to encourage you to take seriously her points.  I will begin with two today; my next blog will include two more until I have covered all ten of Colleen's points.

Reason Number One:  I'm afraid I don't know enough

Ok, fair enough.  In our lives, we will never know enough; that's why we encourage life-long learning.  In any of life's endeavors things we want to know we search for the information; we look for sources and integrate that information into our lives.  Our encounters with each other are no different.  Search out someone who doesn't look like you; whose life experiences are different from yours; whose religious affiliation is different from yours and find out how their life has been; how has it shaped the way they look at life.

Reason Number Two:  I'm afraid I don't "get it"

First of all, who says you have to get everything?  Isn't that the reason for the quest?  We get it when we pursue it, participate in it, and practice it.  No skill or knowledge comes to us without effort.  We all start from a position of conscious incompetence when trying something new; we are thoroughly incompetent and uncomfortable.  That is why it takes practice, perseverance, and dedication to learn something new.

And now a word to those who will be asked.  You will be handed a gift: treat it as precious and appreciate the effort put forward in another person's interest.  Their questions are in pursuit of understanding; engage and enjoy it.  It may be awkward at first; with practice it becomes smoother.  You will also learn from them as well.

I don't want to belabor any of this; just giving permission not to know--not to "get it". Take time to appreciate all of the wonders of God's creation; learn and grow.

 

Craig Jackson
SAHP Dean