This is a creative writing that was originally written in 2009. At the time I was struggling with how the mainstream evangelical church treats those who are not apart of the dominant culture. To be honest, I was weary of being taught that we must live for others, and yet also hearing that we must cater to the majority. My family and I have attended a large predominantly white church for over 16 years, and we missed the soul-stirring worship of a black church. More than that, we were weary of always having to be the one to sacrifice in order to make others more comfortable. Of course, we could always go back to a black church, but that would simply perpetuate the problem. Churches are still very segregated. I believe God has much more for us than segregated churches.
My hope in republishing this writing is to give you a small window into our world.
To whom it may concern,
My name is Different. At least that’s what you’ve called me. Actually, the name given to me by the Creator is: Beautiful, Unique, Daughter, Son, Radiant Expression of the Father. I am all of these things, yet it seems that you cannot see it. Don’t get me wrong. You would probably never SAY these things. Yet your actions towards me scream them. When you see me, you judge me as ungodly. When I speak, I don’t speak your language. When I sing, I don’t fit your style. Then you make it your goal to change me into your image. Oh, I know you don’t mean any harm. You call me your sister, your brother. You love me, and you want God’s best for me.
You wonder why I feel like I don’t belong. You say,”We want you here.” “We’re all equal at the foot of the cross.” But what I hear is,” I’m better than you. My ways are superior. Let me teach you how to walk with God.” You don’t mean it, I know and I forgive you. You see, I walk with God too. Yes, you’re different from me, and I’ll admit at times I judge you too for not thinking like me. I need God’s redeeming grace in my life. But the fact is that I’ve learned so much from you. I’ve discovered things about myself and about God that I never knew. I’ve discovered you are beautiful too!
I’ve learned that God’s beauty is infinite, and so it must be expressed in an infinite number of ways. So everytime I encounter someone or something different, I have the opportunity to discover something new about God. I am changed. Not to be more like you, but to be more like Him. That is my prayer for you as well.
So the next time you listen to “christian radio”, listen for my voice. Am I there? Look around your church. Am I there? When you visit my “side of town” or my country, do you expect to learn something from me or do you expect only to teach me? Have you listened to me? Tried to understand me? Looked for Jesus in me? Do you really believe that there is One Spirit, and He lives in each of us?Are you willing to leave what is comfortable so that God can love me through you? And so that God can love you through me?
It’s hard work, but it’s worth it!
One Seeking to Understand and to be Understood so that we can be One