About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. Robin,
    As the Founder and President of a Christian non-profit ministry that operates in hard to reach countries in the Middle East, I have had to come face to face with the privilege that I was born into. In recent times, I have felt like I need to apologize for something I had absolutely no control over. The Director of our school in Pakistan helped me to view privilege in a different light. When I was lamenting that it was unfair that I was born into “extreme wealth” by the world’s standards, and he was born into extreme poverty. His answer made me step back and ponder…He said, “You don’t need to apologize for what God has blessed you with for you have used your privilege to care about those who are orphaned, impoverished, and destitute.” I feel like it’s not so much what we have, but how we accept it and how we use it. My “wealth” is not mine – it’s God’s and I am to be a good steward and love my neighbor as I love myself…not in a condescending way, but as sister to brother in Christ. In the US, anyone making $40K is considered to be in the top 1% of the wealthiest individuals in the world. We need to heed the Greatest Commandment.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev,

      Hearing the perspective of others is so often the key that opens the doors of our hearts, isn’t it? I agree with your friend; the most beautiful pairing of humans happens when those who “have” give to those who “need.” And make no mistake, we ALL have something to give and need something.

      You also reminded me of when Don Miller and friends made a “confession booth” in college; rather than bringing people in to confess their sins, when people sat down with them, THEY confessed and apologized for a history of “Christian abuses” (ie, the Crusades, etc.). Maybe that was in Blue Like Jazz? I can’t recall now.

      Anyway, yours is important work! Thank you :).

  2. Robin,

    I never thought of myself as privileged. I have recognized the fact that I am much better off than most. It is only by the grace of God that I am where I am today. For years I worked at university. They had an influx of Muslim students. At first it was hard to accept them. You kept wondering what they were studying & if they were gonna blow you up. Once you talked with them & got to know them-you realized they were just like you. Most people are quick to judge others simply by how they look. Jesus took that one step further. He actually got to know the person. He talked with them & saw their hears. We need to count our blessings that God put us here at this time. He could have chosen a different time & place. We haven’t had to suffer much in comparison to many born before us. God wanted a melting pot of people-just like a 64 box of crayons & a rainbow. The first step is to really get to know the other people. Learn about their cultures & who they are. You might be surprised that they are more like us than not.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Beth,

      Your comment made me think of this: Profiling is so dangerous…radical extremism represents the tiny few not the overwhelming majority; but they sure give everyone who shares a commonality in name a bad wrap :/.

      It is always so lovely to spend the time to get to know PEOPLE rather than fear-induced stereotypes.

    • I have very similar background to yours. I was also middle of three cildren with married parents and have come to realize how truly blest especially to be raised in a simpler generation without cell phones or school shootings or children left in hot cars. It took me a very long time but I totally am getting just how privileged I am and how many years I took that for granted and how totally not free our freedoms are. Thanks for the reminder!!

  3. Good morning, Robin!

    Thank you for your words today. I am privileged, which I didn’t know in elementary school, but soon learned more about in high school. I spent a lot of my life not recognizing the privilege and as a result not doing anything about it. I struggle at times knowing the best way to not only engage in this conversation but then what to do about it. Sharing what you are learning is such a good start. I am also praying for God to open doors for me for conversations and action.

    • Mary,

      For years I have lamented, not knowing what I could do. I’ve listened…and wrung my hands, praying about it but not doing much. The more I’ve gotten to know those who are actively working to bring healing and restoration, the more I’ve realized Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m not trying to fill this comment with mixed metaphors, but how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time :). In other words, I’m realizing it’s FINE to begin small…like this blog post. But I’m also creating opportunity in the choices I’m making, trying to be very intentional. Thank you for your openness; I know there are MANY who will read this and feel the exact same way as you! I’ve been there before. DO check out Lucretia’s site!! She is a wealth of resource on what we can DO when we don’t now what to do :).

      xo

  4. I’ve been reading, reading, reading as well, and slowly sharing the words of others. So many of our sisters have unique insights. Cara Meredith writes from the perspective of a white woman in a biracial marriage; Natasha Sistrunk-Robinson writes about living in a divided world as a woman of color; Patrice Gopo shares essays that celebrate the “unpredictable unknown” of coming together with all our differences.
    Here in rural Maine, I could live forever and never encounter the wealth of ideas and unique views these women offer, so I’m grateful they are being published, and I can share THEIR words.

    • This is beautiful, Michele…thank you for introducing me to some names I don’t yet know. I hope others chime in with suggestions for us to give a listen to :).

      You make such a good point; we live in a world fraught with challenge, and yet we have the means to bridge divide in ways that never before existed. So lovely.

      xo

    • Michele, what a wonderful collection of women we can be learning from. Love this! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Yes I see that Jesus love us all that all that matters not what man thinks or says. We are are beautiful in Jesus eyes. We are Daughter’s of the King. I say AMEN to that. Red and Yellow Black and White Jesus loves us all. We are do the same. Jesus hand were kind hands doing good to all. The world is the way it is because of Man. We follower of Jesus are the hands and feet of Jesus to the world. Jesus talked with people if we read our Bible that nobody wanted. We are to do the same. There are so many hurting lonely people out there in our on world today. Who just need to know they are loved. We can show that love to them. By showing them Jesus. By asking them can we pray for them. Can we help them. Is there anything we can do for them. Or just simply stopping to listen to what they are going through and being a friend to them like Jesus was. We might not get our reward this side of earth for doing theses things but we will when we go to Glory. As Jesus will rewards us then. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx

  6. WOW!!!! I watched the video. It is amazing how we as a society consider ourselves privileged if we go to college, but what if we have huge loans. Are we privileged with huge debt. Who needs that? We need to instill in folks to be happy with what we have and work hard for what we want and not just feel like we deserve everything. God Bless.

    • Kimberly,

      It was difficult for me to gauge your tone here, so I don’t want to misspeak :). Going to college is a privilege and it’s also a choice; we don’t “have” to go to college, but believe it or not, I could spin debt as a privilege (my tendency to find the positive side of most anything), but I fully understand its burden. Folks don’t get to choose their genetic make-up, the conditions of the environment into which they were born, and whether or not they were born at all. I’m wondering if you heard my heart in this piece?? I didn’t mention anything about anyone “deserving” anything, nor is that what I’m suggesting. I AM suggesting we listen with the ears of our hearts, and that our hearts first be tendered toward God; that we see others through His lens and not only the lens of what we’ve always known. That goes two ways, and I don’t see it as a “me vs. you” distinction; but as we are all family in the Kingdom economy. 🙂

      Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts! Truly, I’m grateful.

      • After re-reading my comment, I in no way meant to come across that way. It was not my intention nor what is in my heart. I’m sorry

        • Kimberly,

          <3 You are so kind to pop back in here to follow up--thank you! Sometimes I've written something that can be taken many ways, so I'm always thankful if someone asks or I get a chance to clarify!! NO need to apologize, but I am grateful you made sure to help me (us) see where you were coming from. Thank you :).

  7. Robin,
    As I have read about this topic over the past few years, I keep thinking that it’s unfortunate that these advantages came to be known as “white privilege”. I am Caucasian, and when that term was first introduced without explanation via the media and other outlets, there was an immediate push back against the idea in my circles because it was being interpreted to mean that we had been essentially born with silver spoons in our mouths and had everything handed to us. (And yes, I see the irony that it is likely because of “white privilege” that it would be interpreted this way. But there is no way to move the dialog forward if the words being used mean different things to different people.) In the lower middle-class of which I am a part, nothing could be further from the truth – our grandparents, parents, and we have had to work hard for a living – and I think the perceived insinuation created a lot of resentment.
    Over the past couple of years, a lot more has been written on the subject, and more people I rub shoulders with now recognize the kinds of privileges that we have been born with. I’m thankful for all of the people on both sides, including you, who continue to write and clarify and explain so that there is more understanding and more possibility for change. The first step to solving any problem is recognizing that it exists.

    • Rachel,

      Ha! At first I thought you were my daughter chiming in :). Her name is Rachel, too :).

      I REALLY appreciate your thoughts here. What you say makes sense, how the mere terms can be offensive, and depending on our frame of reference, mean different things to different people. SO good. It’s not a bad idea to define what you means that what comes after is well received, or at least received in a more relatable light. I don’t remember now, but it wouldn’t surprise me if my initial reaction to the term “white privilege” was one of offense; thankfully, like you’ve said, more information and conversation around the topic helps to expand all of our understanding.

      And your last sentence was where I was coming from. Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts about this important conversation. 🙂

    • Robin, you articulated the tension between the two sides–and the reasons for it–so perfectly; I wish you were running for office :). But maybe you’re more effective as a writer. I hope you have some good outlets for presenting your thoughts.

      • Kelly,

        Wowza…as a “words of affirmation” girl, you just filled my tank to the overflow. Thank you. I think you’re new to me as a commenter/reader? Have you been following incourage for a while?

        p.s. I may/may not have rolled on the floor laughing out loud at the thought of *me* running for office. Oh, my…but at least I know how to treat people with respect and kindness :).

        • I have been enjoying incourage for a couple of years. It helps orient my thoughts first thing in the morning :).

          It is lovely for you to respond to the commenters. I know not every writer has the time, but it is meaningful. You really went out of your way with this post!

          • Kelly,

            That really means a lot–for me to know that responding matters. There are times when I just can’t get to all of them, and that’s hard for me. If folks are willing to invest their time to engage with my words, it’s so important tome to reply :). And this post in particular felt like it would be helpful to keep an eye on them. Now…and even in the future.

            Have a lovely weekend, and thank you for popping back in to answer my question!! xo

  8. By David Platt:
    Whether you are a teacher, a scientist, a business professional or stay-at-home parent, a student, or retiree, God has created your life to count in a world of urgent need.

  9. “We are books judged favorably by our cover which is neither fair nor necessarily an accurate reflection of anything else about us.” — This is beautifully expressed!!! Thank you!

    I had the privilege of growing up marginalized. From the margins, ironically, I have always had a advantageous and honest view of race/ism. I was able to see race/ism objectively, as a man-ordained construct designed to sort and narrate identities and opportunities. Then I was privileged to earn a degree in Education while focusing my research on anti-race/ism education. And now, I get to graciously and generously share my education (and liberation) with anyone who wants to learn! YAY!

    Thanks for encouraging (in)sisters to learn.

    • Ta-dah! The post I told you about!!

      Can you explain why you write race/ism like you do? I know it’s significant and I bet (in)readers would love to know more about your rationale behind it.

      And I LOVE how you see the privileges you’ve experienced….and that you use your unique perspective and education for our good, God’s glory, and the advance of the gospel. So beautiful….

      (love you, friend! xoxo)

  10. I am a former high school teacher and have done that exercise with students in the past – very powerful.

  11. I watched the video. It is excellent. I have no kids. But I am so proud of you as a Mom for still doing what Jesus would do that is still loving your Daughter no matter what. You can’t live her life for her. Or tell her what to do once they grow up and get Married. You have to pray for them trust them into Jesus hands. If they choose to leave the faith they have been brought up in which is sad the Christian faith and become Muslim. All you can do as Mother is still love them and pray they will one day they and their family’s see the light. Come to know Jesus as their saviour. Never stop loving them. You might not like the faith they belong too. But they are your family. It is same as a Christian Mother who child coming telling them they are gay. They are not going to stop loving them or turn them away. Say I don’t want anything to do with you because you our gay. They are still the Mother’s child. That Mother might not like the fact they are gay. But she will still love them accept them. Be glad to see. Not accept they are gay. Yes pray for them to see Jesus. Always let them know they are loved and her door of her home is always open for her kids. As Jesus would want her to do that. Jesus is so proud of you that are still treating your Daughter the way you are and loving her. Even if you don’t want her to be Muslim. But she has choose to be that why with her family. You can do what Jesus would want you do that is to still love her and her family. Plus continue to pray for her. As no matter what she is your precious daughter. That you her Mother all thoes years ago be proud of yourself gave birth too. Even though she is all grown up now. Mother’s and Daughter’s most of them have a very special bond no matter what. No matter what age your Daughter is she always be your special Daughter. My Mother used to say that about me and my sisters. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx

    • Dawn,
      I appreciate that you took the time to follow up on one of the great resources Robin pointed us to and found that compelling video on Patricia Raybon’s site about her relationship with her Muslim daughter. (Patricia is so inspiring!) I love that we can come to a place like (in)courage and focus on what it means to be women of courage. Not everyone around this table will agree on every matter, but we can cheer each other on in our desire to love others well and rely on Jesus for the strength to do so.
      Warmly,
      Becky Keife
      (in)courage Community Manager

  12. Oh, my goodness, Robin Dance! What a courageous and beautiful essay. I’m honored by your kind mention. I’m especially moved, however, by your willingness to dive into these issues and share your thoughts. So moved mountains today, and I thank you. For those who were offended of confused by the idea of privilege — especially white privilege in racist environments — may I recommend this book by a dear friend, Amy Julia Becker, who gently unpacks the matter of privilege and in a non-threatening but vital way? “White Picket Fences: Turning Toward Love in a World Divided by Privilege” is beautifully written and kindly helpful. Thank you, meantime, for sharing today. You’re moving mountains, indeed. With love and friendship! Patricia

    • Patricia!!!!!! This essay is, in part, a gift to you! I was going to let you know about it, but you beat me to the punch :). Thank you for your kind words here, but even more so for the way you lead, teach, and inspire others by grace, truth, and kindness. God has used you in countless ways, and I’m SO thankful He provided a way for our paths to intersect.

      Thank you for this book recommendation; I’m adding it to my list, and I’m sure I won’t be the only one.

      xoxo

      • You are welcome — big time! You surprised me today and, wow, I’m SO honored and grateful. The “privilege” conversation is an important one. I’m guessing it’s hard for white people to accept the idea that white privilege isn’t about material wealth — it’s about the privilege that white skin allows in an anti-black world. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but so important to consider in these times. I’m rushing off to a meeting and can’t continue our conversation here on this today. But please know how grateful I am for your willingness to open this door and walk through — leading others with courage, beauty and grace! You made a difference today, and I thank you! Sending much love! Warmly, Patricia xoxo

        • It really is a matter of the Lord’s leading, and I am so thankful for those who’ve invited me into the conversation. Your love opens doors, my friend. xo

  13. Robin,
    I’m so proud to call you a friend and fellow (in)courage writer. Your humility and vulnerability in sharing where you’ve been and where you’re going through these complex conversations is inspiring. You help me to look beyond myself and ask, What do I need to see differently? What do I need to learn and from whom can I learn it from? Thank you, friend. xx

      • Ok, you two…I’m suddenly finding myself wanting to link arms and sing, “We are the world…” <3.

        Thank you for your encouraging words, and truly, for laying foundations, setting stages, and opening doors to think about and process these types of conversations in *community*. I have learned so much from our (in)sisters, and I love the way their words (writers and readers) have broadened my own perspective.

        xo

  14. There is only one race–the human race. Our spirits have no color. The tents in which our spirits are housed vary. But God wants us to be in His image spiritually–the characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit. If we want to have unity, it is through allowing Christ’s Spirit living in us to have control.

  15. Thanks for this message. Yesterday I had the privilege to attend a Diversity and Inclusion summit in my community. Discussed my privilege with two women of color during a breakout and simply listened to their unjust experiences, after which I expressed distress that they have to overly coach their teenage boys on how to conduct themselves so their lives will be spared or how they immediately get followed in certain department stores. I asked how to help them and one huge way is modeling a better way for my son and the next generation. I commit to showing him culture and color and life from all angles. May we live lives more like Jesus, simply loving the “other,” no matter whom they may be.

    • Your comment made me think, “We’re all ‘other’ to someone….” What a wonderful initiative in your community! How heartening to see how you approached and responded to it, Andrea. Thank you for challenging ALL of us to live more like Jesus by simply loving the “other” in our lives. xo

  16. Thank you, and all the (in) sisters for your posts. I too, like you, have been encouraged to write, so here goes… albeit a day late. 😉
    I too wear the label privileged. It is not a robe that rests lightly however. Rather, a ribbon of razors reopening wounds inflicted by choices in the pursuit of more privilege- my own & others. It is an accessory foisted upon me by a culture obsessed with labeling identifiers rather than identities.
    Privilege is a dangerous word (like so many others). It invites, in every conceivable direction, comparison & condemnation, both lethal to faith, and neither espoused in scripture (Gal: 4&5 & Rom 8:1). If we concern ourselves with identifiers it occupies the space of God’s vision for unity of the Spirit through the bonds of peace (Eph. 4).
    I choose to look, dig if necessary, to see the contents in myself & others. It cannot be denied we all see covers, and that our beginnings set a certain sum trajectory. But it’s the content of the course that matters to the Lord. Throughout the scripture He reserved His strongest words for those more concerned with the exterior than the interior. He ministered to the privileged and the under privileged. His lingering message to all, “WORTHY!”
    But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1Timothy 6:6

    • This is a deep and thought-provoking comment, Myrna. Thank you for gently offering a way to understand a danger in labeling (basically). As I read your thoughts, I kept thinking “eyes on Christ.” To see the world (people) around us with the eyes of God, through the lens of love, allows for no distinction. NOT to negate our wrappings, but the very heart of who we are in Him. Thank you for making me think, for being willing to share your perspective.

      • Thank you! It was kind if you to reply, and heartening to know my words conveyed my meaning. What a change our world would see if we all perceived one another with the eyes of Christ…an ongoing prayer.

  17. Thank you, Robin, Patricia, and all of the women of incourage for being brave enough to address this. It is a sensitive topic, and one that can unfortunately so often divide instead of bring together. But oh, the conversations we can have when we’re willing to talk and be open, and hear stories and listen to one another ❤️

    I suppose I could say that I’m not in a position of privilege, and I’m careful about admitting that because I know that very fact has hurt some of my friends. I know they’ve felt accused especially in more recent years, and that’s not my intention by sharing stories of how I’ve experienced their world a little differently.

    If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t too sure about this community before these posts started coming out more and more in recent months. I remember seeing one awhile ago that had advocated for colourblindness in all its best intentions, and when I’d commented I was shut down by people telling me I needed to back off and let God work in my heart. I know this is also true, there’s always work to be done there, but I was relieved when the post was taken down. I love that we can be a community that continues to learn, grow, and heal together. Thank you for your work in making this a safe space!

    • Thank you, Addie. I awoke this morning to find your beautiful thoughts and comment. Your hopeful words and open-minded spirit are deeply encouraging. I’m honored by the privilege of connecting with you. Please continue to read and share. Warmest thanks, Patricia

    • God is at work in and through the writers and readers of (in)courage, and your comment tells me He’s doing amazing work! 🙂 I’m not aware of what you’re talking about, but I’m thankful you’re continuing to read and speak into our (in)community. We CAN all learn so much when we listen with an openness that is concerned about reflecting God and understanding we are ALL works in progress. Praise God I’m not who I was…that He is patient in conforming me to the image of his Son.

      Thank you, Addie.

  18. I appreciate your thoughts and understand your desire to be exactly who God intends for you to be. However, I feel differently. Not in direct opposition to you but just to share my experience and thoughts. I am a mixture of a Welsh and English father and a Hispanic mother. My skin tones are more likely to render me assumed white than Hispanic. So I guess my point is that we are all subject to possible misjudgment. I have been surrounded by Hispanics speaking Spanish assuming that I could not understand them due to my assumed ‘whiteness.’ Ideally we should not only be color blind but deaf and unable to speak ugliness. But unfortunately we are not perfect. So my advice, for whatever good it may be, is to be as honest with everyone we meet as we can be and by doing so we can have real dialogue and get to know each other as we are and not as we assume we are. Remember we each have a story, one that needs to be told and one that deserves to be heard. I pray that we can individually and collectively, embrace our own attributes and those of others, the good and not so good, so that we may grow in grace and become all that God intends for us.
    I love and pray for each and everyone as we struggle with all this ‘ol world throws our way. I am, at 74, nearing the end of mine, while you younger women are in the throes of yours. Rely on our Father and our Savior and The Holy Spirit each and every day. It’s all we have and it is enough.
    Praying with you