Broadening the “we”.

Last week, I mentioned that Chris and I were attending the film SELMA and participating in a community discussion on racial reconciliation after it. It was a great evening of discussion.

The film was thought-provoking, moving, and even infuriating. One 74 year old women shared about growing up not far from Selma and had a voter registration window slammed in her face as she tried to register. It really brought the movie to life for me.

The organizers mentioned that all over the country similar conversations like ours were being initiated by a collaboration of African American and majority white churches.

A number of you wrote to offer perspective and ideas, should you wish to initiate or participate in similar conversations. Tom Virtue, Epic National Field Ministry, wrote that when writing about ethnicity, the frame of reference for “we” in Cru still tends to be the majority culture.

I appreciated his thoughts and asked if he would explain more about how to broaden the “we” of Cru to encompass diverse ethnicities and to be able to work together on solutions. Here are his thoughts.

When I read Gilbert’s tip last week I really appreciated the intentionality that he portrayed and the awareness to be thinking beyond ourselves. Then I started thinking about a little bigger question… “Who is the ‘we’ in Cru who want to be reaching beyond ourselves in a missional way as he described and growing in our own understanding?”

A thought for me recently is that when we communicate about ethnicity and race in Cru many times the communication itself doesn’t give a complete picture of who “we” are and unintentionally has a separation that is built in. It comes across at times like “we the majority culture” need to figure out how to make progress in ethnic ministry.

Even though it’s not intentional, the result is that it doesn’t reflect our current reality and identity and leaves some of our minority staff and interns wondering how to insert what they have to offer. God has brought us to a point where there are a variety of ethnicities who are now a part of the “we” so anytime we address effectiveness as a ministry in any realm it’s a shared challenge and responsibility. No matter our ethnicity we share together to see growth in authenticity and effectiveness of ministry. The beauty is that our “we” now has many more different perspectives and insights and will challenge some of our assumptions if we intentionally begin to see ourselves in a new identity and make sure we hear all our voices. That’s what all of us taking cross-cultural learning steps right where we are brings, and it’s a good thing!

Tom

Thanks, Tom, for helping reshape our communication and how we think about promoting ethnic involvement, rather than unintentionally isolating.

For more on this topic check out, “Five Majority Culture Postures Towards Ethnic Minority Ministry.”

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