What is your commitment when it comes to relating to people unlike yourself and your group? What is the first answer that you give? Check your actions to see if this response is true. How are your actions living out your answer? Are they?
This is the challenge we all face. In our head we have certain aspirations and these inform our words, but our reality may not show that these aspirations are true.
So, we may all say we respect people of other social classes, ethnicities, etc. How do we know this? How do we show this if our daily and/or meaningful interactions are only with people like ourselves?
Kathleen T. Talvaacchia makes the point in Critical Minds and Discerning Hearts that in the United States there is increasing multiculturalism beyond the major cities. She is making the case for effective multicultural teaching which involves learning about others. Part of this learning happens through what she refers to as “the lived experience of interacting with others” (Talvacchia 2003, 91). This means that we learn about people who are different from ourselves by mixing with them.
If we believe this is true and if we have some commitment to be in relationship with people outside our group, how are we creating opportunities that honor and respect the other? As we enter the new school year and plan our youth group programs, how have we given or how will we give space for these opportunities so that the commitment exists in reality and not in the realm of wishful thinking?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor