Curiosity about others minimizes racism as we minimize our pride. Humility seeks to understand difficulties others experience that we haven’t.
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s show where today we consider several interesting responses from our listeners to a recent episode.
The first is an email in reaction to episode 70, Building Relationships Eases Racial Tension. It’s from Thomas, a listener from West Africa:
Listener response no. 1
Greetings from [a West African country].
Thank you for interviewing Kevin about his perception of and suggested solutions to racial matters in the US. I am touched by his proposed solution, particularly, about the role Christians could play.
When I come to the US and worship with Americans I am struck at the racial components of most churches. If it is white, it is white; if it is black, it is black. I see very little effort Christian leaders and Christians in America toward the blending of the color of worshippers and ministers in many American congregations…
I wonder whether American Christians take a cue from the racial composition of the early church or read Apostle Paul's tireless emphasis on racial harmony among Christians.
Is America really a Christian nation?
Americans are known all over the world as the trailblazers of Christianity. In fact, some people falsely perceive America as a Christian nation judging from the number of missionaries who come from America to evangelize non-Christians, the number of Christian radio/television stations, the numbers of Christian literature published in America by American Christians, and the number of great Christian leaders and evangelists they listen to.
When non-Americans see the extent of racial tension and its resultant hatred, they pause to ask the efforts of American Christians to either ease or eradicate the extent of the tension. I think it is high time American Christians listen to the suggestions of Kevin about the role they could play as followers of Jesus.
We, the non-American Christians, are praying to see the end of racial tension in America because it leaves a bitter taste in our mouths and impedes our evangelist efforts in our countries. Unbelievers draw out attention to what is happening in America and ask if that is the kind of Christianity we want them to become members of. American Christians must, therefore, take pragmatic actions based on love and relationship to end racism.
My reaction to Thomas’ email
Several things come to mind. First, when there’s conflict, people not involved are watching. They are impacted by the conflict they see, even though they are not part of it.
Secondly, The church in America makes it harder for some missionaries is a sobering observation by Thomas.
Finally, I wonder what other non-American Christians, besides those in West Africa, think about this issue. De we have enough curiosity about others to think about the impact we have on people across the globe?
A second response to episode 70.
It comes from Randy, living in Pittsburgh. He writes
“Last week’s podcast was thought-provoking. I’ve listened to it a couple of times. I wonder how the conversation/interview would have been different if the person you interviewed would have been black. I wonder what suggestions they might have in response to your questions, which as always, were thought-provoking?”
And then later … “My wife and I talked about how it applies to your podcasts and book…wondering what it is like to be “THEM.”
Randy’s point is a fundamental listening principle: to ask ourselves when engaged in a relationship with someone, what must it be like to be them?
I wonder if our curiosity about other people would help to ease racial tension.
Could being more curious about another race and how they experience life minimize the racial divide in our country? Episode 62 and episode 63, are both about our lack of curiosity about people and what we suffer because of it.
I also wonder if pride fits into a discussion of racism? I’ve mentioned before Dennis P. Morgan’s book, Fighting for Peace – Combating Conflict with Character. The book can be summarized in one sentence: At the root of all conflict is an abundance of pride and a lack of humility.
The obvious point about the role of pride in racism is the notion that I think I’m better than you. That you are deficient in comparison to me.
A less obvious manifestation of pride is the idea that I don’t need to get to know you, because you are different from me, and only people like me are worth my time in building a relationship. I don't need to be curious about other people.
I’m most comfortable with people whose life experiences are similar to mine. I’m not interested in learning how you experience life, because I believe how I do things is the right way. That’s pride certainly, which is fertile soil for racism to grow.
So what’s a solution to all this?
Humble ourself. Recognize the way we live and what we believe may not be the best way.
Ask God to make us more curious about other people.
Question our assumptions about people, and why they are the way they are, and why they do the things they do.
If you forget everything else, here’s the one thing I hope you remember from today’s episode.
Become more curious. More curious to question our assumptions and values. More curious to learn about the difficulties other people experience that we have not. Curiosity often leads to compassion.
What can do we do in response to today’s show?
Ask God to expose areas of pride in our life. Ask God to help us question our assumptions about people. Call upon Him to help us be more curious about others. Ask him to show us better ways of relating to people, regardless of how different they may appear to be from us. Our lives are enriched when we're curious about other people. It helps us experience the life-giving relationships we were made for.
As always, another thing you could do is let me and your fellow listeners know what resonated with you about today’s episode. Just like Thomas and Randy did in today’s episode. You can share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes. Or you can send them to me in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act. So that you will find the joy God intends for you through your relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.
Our relationship quote of the week
Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Romans 12:2
That’s all for today. See you next week. Goodbye for now.