Powerful message. I whole-heartedly agree. I’ve often wondered why we can’t all just get along. After all, the same loving God made each of us. I know. Way too simplistic. But wouldn’t it be nice? And I think it’s okay that those Yankees don’t eat grits. This southern girl doesn’t either. Now those black-eyed peas…that’s another matter. 😀
That was a crazy time in our history. It seems every generation has issues that serves to divide us when God wants us to work together to draw people to Him, especially as the day before He comes draw closer. Very sad.
This is a very good article, Tim. Your father sounds like a very good man.
@244f78f29693561429bdfb844938848a:disqus He was. Unfortunately, he died two weeks before I turned 12. I didn’t have him with me as I entered Middle School, faced desegregation, or my had my first date. But what he taught me has followed me everywhere since.
I have the unique perspective of living both sides – Yankee and Southerner. I wrote in a comment on an earlier post that there was no racism where I grew up (or something along those lines) because there were no blacks. But later I realized that wasn’t true.
I remember making a friend with a little girl who was playing at the
playground at one of our hundreds of big family/neighborhood picnics at
the park. She was really nice, and I had fun playing with her. I
remember the adults thinking it was funny/strange/cute that I was
playing with her. I remember realizing it was because she was black.
(not the word of choice in the 60’s, but I don’t want to offend by using
the actual word.) I remember that being my first personal introduction
I remember the “N” word used regularly on shopping trips to the “big city” in Iowa. And I remember staring out the window trying to figure out what or who my dad was cursing about, mocking, and laughing at. I didn’t understand what was wrong with them and why they made my dad so angry. After I befriended the other little girl in the park, I started to wonder even more. It didn’t make sense.
I’ve lived the 2nd half of my life in the South. And I’ve found the line in the sand here is more like a ditch that grows wider with each tide, and our view through the glass grows darker and darker.
Thanks for an awesome, sobering post, my friend. I wish I’d known your daddy.
@aa5385a2b83af575c9757c9702bd2968:disqus Trust me, that ditch knows no geographic boundaries. Take a ride through Detroit and you will see what I mean. Ironically, it is those of my generation in the South who were children during those darkest years that have struggled the hardest to work together. My parent’s generation are quieter but harbor the same inward fears and distrust. My children’s generation are quick to say they have no prejudice at all which is mostly an illusion. But my generation has had to deal with our demons in the most public and painful ways. Many of us have learned to talk about our differences, work at eliminating the ones that should not be, and celebrate the ones that make us who we are.
BTW: If you look at the picture on my post, the tallest building in the right hand corner is where my grandfather’s barber shop was.
I haven’t lived in the south all my life, just most of it. While living in Arizona, we (whites) were the minority in our town. I experienced discrimination, for being white, and for being smart, and for not being rich. There were also important families that if you didn’t belong to or associate with you could kiss aspiration goodbye. On the flip side, the white people looked down on the Navajo as drunkards and Hispanic as lazy. Of course there are those in every race that perpetuate the stereotypes. Trash is trash is trash I have heard people say. In the LDS church the original Doctrine for colored people was that they were accursed on account of Cain & until recently colored people could not hold church office or attain godhood in the Celestial Kingdom. The best they could hope for was a servant position. God has throughout eternity had a People unto Himself & they are of every nation and tongue. There will not be barriers in heaven. There will not be Greek nor Jew nor bondservant nor free man, but Christ! I long for that day, but try to live life here on earth like I believe it.
This article is an example of why I love your writing, Tim. You give such thoughtful insight into an issue, and you make us sit back and think. My parents were a lot like your dad. There was no hint of racism in our house. I think that being in the military helped a lot, because when you’re stationed overseas and you have just a small community of Americans to be around, color was the last thing you thought about. I remember coming home to the States when I was 12, moving to Augusta, GA. That was the first time I heard the “N” word thrown around and it horrified me. I couldn’t hide how I felt, and I was immediately ostracized by many during that school year.
Today I don’t think it’s so much race as political and religious lines that divide us, and even that goes all the way into the church. I mean seriously, I know folks that think they’re saved just because they’re Republicans (or coming from a different perspective, Democrats!). Funny, those aren’t the Name I recall by which all men are saved! 🙂
And like your friend, Rhonda said, I can forgive anyone not eating grits… but now black-eyed peas and cornbread? That’s a matter for some serious prayer and attitude adjustments! I just know that those peas and cornbread are going to be at the supper table of the Bridegroom when we get to that feast! LOL Have a wonderful day, my friend! 🙂
In the world we fight not only our own fleshly/selfish desires, but also the devil, who would love nothing better than to divide us on every possible line. I think our fleshly desires have to do with fitting in & being accepted, which inevitably means leaving someone out. It is only the Spirit of God who can transform us into people who include everyone; even the unlovely. I know I have to fight my own battles with pride when I’m faced with someone who is socially awkward or intellectually challenged – I often want to run away and not be seen with that person. Why is it so hard to accept someone so different from ourselves? We naturally gravitate toward those like us. When we realize that God has asked us to reach beyond ourselves, we can lean on His strength to override our sinful desires and defeat the plans of the devil. Unity is a constant battle on this earth, and I don’t think we will fully see its playing out until we reach heaven. I love seeing the saints worship together, and I think my feelings on unity are but a minute fraction of God’s heart.
Sorry this is a mess of thoughts; it’s early in the morning for me. 😛
Hmm. I think for me racism was this peripheral thing that I only recall encountering occasionally, and then almost so offhandedly it took a minute to realize what just happened. Also, I’m a state that borders Mexico. Most of the comments I heard weren’t toward black people but toward Mexicans. And not in my house, mind you.
I guess if anything I remember more private school/home school/public school debates and whether Presbyterians, Southern Baptists, Church of Christs, Pentecostals, or Catholics had it right. In college it was all whose political side you were on and what ideology people could pigeonhole you in. My parents just didn’t put up with the mentality, so I didn’t either.
The overly simple answer, I guess, is that it’s part of the Fall. Part of it’s pride and ego; part of it’s a genuine need/desire to be in the right. Some of it’s unbridled disdain. Some of it’s ignorance. Broken, flawed, rebellious creatures, we…do our worst to one another, and the worst cuts the soul, not the body.
Tim: Why do we spend so much time drawing lines in the sand rather than
simply doing what God has called us to do? Why we do we write books
about how much the church had it wrong a generation ago instead of
quietly being obedient in the present?
Me: It’s easier to theorize than act, to ponder law instead of obey law. And it’s far easier to cast blame on a generation long gone than to get up and move forward. To put it the way my dad would, at some point the “why” doesn’t really matter; what matters is the next action.
Tim: Why do we make battle lines over
things about which I am quite sure God could care less?
Me: I got into it with a teacher over predestination once. In a bout of frustration, I finally asked, “Does this even matter?” To which he answered, “Yes. It matters a lot, and this is why….” and promptly went back into his argument. It matters to some people, and I guess those people need answering. But there’s a reason Paul warned Timothy so strongly against getting tangled in these pointless debates. And there’s a reason we have to be really careful which hill we decide to die on.
Tim: Why are we
strangely silent when it comes to things about which God has so much to
Me: Because it’s easier to tackle the things he hasn’t said much on. Ignorance is bliss, or something.
Tim: Why do we insist on acting enlightened when we all see through a glass darkly?
Me: Because I am enlightened, Timothy. 0=)
I’m back – to share a video I just watched on the blog
I had NO idea. Very sobering, and reveals yet another layer to racism.
Loved this! I grew up north where I didn’t see alot of this segregation and it amazes me when I read about it.
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