“I hope this book is obsolete by the time our kids get older,” I expressed to my husband.
And then I wrote this for the book’s dedication:
This book is dedicated to my children. I pray when you get older you would wonder why mom would write such a book. I pray God would be glorified and you would be encouraged. You are a joy to me, your mom. I love you!
I’ve heard people say, “Aren’t we past race? Can’t we just move on?” I so wish this was true. I wish that we were able to move along. But, tragically, we aren’t and until we are able to see one another and not make assumptions or harbor hate and bitterness based on the color of our skin, we will need to continue to about race, diversity, and unity.
United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity was written for my children and for your children.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a beautiful vision of little white boys and girls and little black boys and girl playing together. We are most definitely closer to that vision today than when Dr. King made his famous speech. There are times when you can go to a playground and see these beautiful kids delighting in the joy of youth and innocence together. And yet, when we go to our churches, how often is this the picture we see? After church what does the picture of our tables look like? Throughout the week, who are we inviting into our homes for dinner?
When we discuss racial reconciliation, there often appears to be a desire for those of varying ethnicities to relate and merely “get along.” I believe people genuinely desire for others to love one another and to accept each other. But God’s Word takes it a step further and into much more meaning.
As Christians, we aren’t merely to get along, we aren’t merely to love, but we are to love as if we are blood-related sisters and brothers! We are the body of Christ. When God created the world, He did not distinguish between who would be made in His image. Every person, all ethnicities, are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27). In Acts 17, Paul addresses the people of the Areopagus saying, “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth…” (Acts 17:26, emphasis mine).
The implications are astounding! Think about it. You and I are made in the very image of God.
The dark racial history in the United States could distract us from the barrier-breaking, history-smashing gospel of Jesus Christ. But instead, by the grace of God and because of His Spirit, we can relate to one another as brothers and sisters and we can teach our children to do the same.
How is this possible?
Because there is no greater love than the love displayed on the cross on our behalf. Jesus broke all barriers. The gospel unites—should unite—all believers, especially in the area of race and ethnicity. The gospel breaks barriers such that I can fellowship, dine with, dance with, pray with, and enjoy Christians from all ethnicities without hesitation or prejudice. We are all quite different and come from various backgrounds. But we have one thing in common—a love for the gospel and our Savior Jesus Christ.
Today continues the 5 book giveaway! To enter simply respond to one of these questions:
How do you think we might encourage diversity in relationships?
What are ways that you show hospitality to your neighbor?
How have you taught your children about diversity?
If you’d like to purchase United, you may do so here.
This giveaway has ended. Winners were selected randomly, will be contacted via email and are listed by comment number from this week’s posts. Congratulations to those who won!
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#2 (Monday’s post) – Susan Smith
#38 (Monday’s post) – Cheryl
#75 (Monday’s post) – Lindsey Woolard
#13 (Wednesday’s post) – Nicole Stone
#23 (Wednesday’s post) – RJ
We have a very diverse group of friends because we are fortunate enough to live in a wonderfully diverse community. We embrace it by inviting many people into our home often!
That is great, Marci! I think having people in your home is one of the best ways to embrace diversity (and the community around you) as well as teach your kids about the joy and beauty of knowing people who aren’t exactly like you. Thanks for the comment.
That is great, Marci! I think having people in your home is one of the best ways to embrace diversity (and the community around you) as well as teach your kids about the joy and beauty of knowing people who aren’t exactly like you.
I’m so glad that you’re addressing this issue!!! It is a subject dear to my heart. I try to appreciate my own racially diverse ancestry, It really helps to realize that I have Native American, African American, Jewish and white all within me–whatever the circumstances that brought that about. I have been a minority in a group situation, and I try to remember what it feels like and what encourages inclusion. Remember the command God gave the Israelites about treating the “strangers” well because they were once strangers in Egypt? I think of that a lot.
Oh man! I’m so excited to read this book! We try our best to teach our kids that God made us all, and no one looks the same. Some of us have dark hair, blue eyes, brown skin, etc. And God made everything GOOD. It’s sin that created what people think is bad. We just try really hard to push the “we’re all created in his image, and that is beautiful.” We’re dealing with little kids right now, so I always love hearing how others teach their kids!
Our children are young, the oldest is three right now. But one way we are trying to teach them about diversity is just by befriending our neighbors from other cultures. We live in a university town and our neighborhood really has a mix of people from other countries so that helps their awareness that not everyone looks the same, eats the same food, etc.
Sarah S says
I am probably not the most hospitable neighbor. But, one way I show hospitality is just to simply wave and say hello as we pass on the street. I am always walking my dog around the neighborhood and just being friendly as I pass is where I’m at. We’ve lived here a year now. So, I don’t actually know many of my neighbors.
No, that’s great! During the winter I have a tough time connecting with people because we are all inside.
Before our family moved to a new neighborhood last summer, I prayed for neighbors that we could love and develop a good relationship with. In my mind, imagined a young family with kids. God answered my prayers when we meet our neighbors across the street who are in their 70s. Being their neighbors has provided our family with opportunities to care for them and serve them. What a blessing they have been to our family. (Proud of you, Trillia!)
I just wrote a blog post about this in January – why color blindness is not the answer http://setapartwarriorprincess.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-inter-racial-sisterhood-why-being.html
I have been incredibly burdened by this issue for a while and I just love that the Spirit is working. I don’t have kids yet, not even married but when I dream of my future home, I dream of kids in different skin colors. In this season I am in, I try to encourage diversity by not being limited to color in my relationships. No predominantly black or white churches, no group of friends without some kind of diversity. I even decided that I would not join the Black Law Students Association. We just have to be intentional about seeking diversity and really wanting to meet people halfway.
I would so love to win a copy of this book!! <3
we have 4 children, ages 15-27 and we’ve always had people in our home – It’s so important to model hospitality to our children. It can be as simple as popcorn or a cold glass of lemonade. Friends from another state for a couple of days or a chat with a neighbor who is out for a walk. We provided a home for a few weeks for a boy whose daddy was homeless. Kids have walked to our house after school just to hang out, because they were welcome. All kinds of conversations with all kinds of people have taken place around our table or fireplace on our patio, because we were trying to love like Jesus and they found it a safe place. We have been blessed by relationships with so many people.
Kristin Waters says
We’ve always encouraged our daughter to be friends with anyone – and she has. She did not start to “see” color until she hit the later grades of elementary school when we moved to a more rural area. Even though she “sees” it more, it doesn’t affect whether she likes that child – she could care less what ethnicity the child is – she just wants to know if you’re a kind and fun person to be around. Makes a mama’s heart happy 🙂
Nicole Stone says
Well we are a family that lives and breathes diversity! I am white, but my husband is part Irish, part Mexican. Our children are African American. I like to think that our family makeup helps break the ice, so to speak. It’s not that we don’t “see” color, as some claim. We EMBRACE color, every one.
My family also lives diversity. I am Irish/French and my husband was black Hispanic. I must confess that has troubled me that my Evangelic church is “so white”. There is one black family and that’s it. I’ve wondered how to change that and I honestly don’t know how. My hope is that your book will give me insight and ideas.
Lisa Quinn says
I pray your same prayer, that my children will also find this book obsolete when they are grown. Amen!
Mary Mc says
I think we can encourage diversity by reaching out to others in our community and inviting them to special events such as cookouts, potluck suppers, and VBS. We also have regularly held after-school weekly Bible studies which have attracted children from throughout our small community.
Kimberly Burch says
I teach my son to base friendship upon character not color
1. One of my goals in life is to adopt an orphan, and I truly believe it is a fabulous way to encourage diversity if we are to adopt or foster orphans of different races. It is a beautiful sight, a family interwoven with different races and all in love with each other. An interracial family can teach their community in many ways, especially the small children to recognize the truth that we all are human, we share the same human necessities in life.
April Hunter says
I show hospitality to a neighbor ( or anyone ) by always offering my help, leaving fresh eggs on their doorstep, waving when I see them, offering to pick something up for them when I head into town.
Sue Amentler says
I enjoy giving Mom’s and Women hospitality by cooking breakfast for a Mom’s club and Dinner for a Women’s Bunco night.
I enjoy making these women something that would put a smile on their face after a long day or taking care of their children.
It makes my heart smile.
Donna T says
I have taught my chdren to treat people with respect not being concerned about their physical appearance. I believe you should judge a book by its cover and believe I have instilled that in them.
I think teaching our kids about other countries and cultures and even about differences in each other, even in our family. And always highlighting that we love and value people because God made people and loves them!
kathy w says
We show our neighbors hospitality by sharing food with them and inviting them over to play games and help them whenever we can.
Julie R. says
I think my children “get” diversity better than I … in fact, I think they’re somewhat colorblind. They’re had the privilege of growing up in an area where at least a few of their friends are racially diverse. As we continue to stress to them that it’s what on the inside that matters, they remind us that they often don’t see the color differences that I still see. O God, that I, too, may become colorblind!
Renae Goysich says
I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. At the time the demographics were roughly half white half black, so I had friends of all shades! I loved it! I also knew that this was how it was supposed to be! My father is a pastor, and he taught all of us that there is no race but the human race. I taught it to my children, and now they teach it to theirs. I never understood prejudice, and I feel that it is better not to!
Our church years ago was diverse. My daughter went to a camp and college that were diverse and now lives in NYC. Can’t get much more diverse than that 🙂
How do you think we might encourage diversity in relationships?
Take the burden of educating ourselves, in addition to pursuing cross -cultural relationships. As a white woman, I want to understand more of the cultures around me, but if I put all that burden on my friends, I can damage our relationship. I will enter in with huge blind spots and put my friends in the position of either challenging me, or putting up with my ignorance.
Reading about the history of race relations, as well as important thinkers from other cultures is very important to even know what issues ar important. One starting point, reading this book–i’m hoping to soon! Another idea is to be read the blog post linked above, to understand why being ‘color blind’ might not be the best goal. There are many resources just a search engine away, or a visit to prominent bloggers or magazines to hear another perspective. And mostly, in every situation, practice listening with the goal of understanding!