Thursday, July 21, 2016

It all starts with Connection

Do you remember that first moment you felt connection with your spouse or SO?  The smile, or laugh or brush of a hand that made your heart race and you knew there was something there  - it feels so good to find a connection with someone.  It feels good because this is what God created us for - connection.

When God created the universe, God took the formless void and divided out the light, the land, the water, plants, animals and finally humankind.  Everything was created from the same mush, by the same hand of God.

God said, "Let us make humankind in our image"  As Christians we see this verse as confirmation that from the very beginning God was a Trinity - both diverse and unified at once.  God - Creator, Savior, Sustainer - is one God and yet at the sometime distinct, different and multiple.

God created us in this image - we are distinct and different but yet we are one human family.

What we see around us with all the problems in our world regarding race, religion and politics is our human tendency to see our differences and assign greater importance to our difference than to our sameness.

It is after the fall, after Adam and Eve eat the apple that division and disconnection enters the world.  All of a sudden they hide from God.  They are disconnected from God.   And they blame and shame each other - they are disconnected in their relationship.  Disconnection is a result of sin and fallen-ness.  Our pointing fingers, blaming and shaming one another is a result of sin.  God created us for connection and relationship without blame and shame and sin.

Every white skinned person has (after a certain age) sun spots.  Those dark spots on your skin prove that you have just as much Melanin as the darkest black person from Africa.  Melanin, the chemical that gives our skin our amount of darkness, is all there in white people - it just isn't switched on.  Sun damage switches it on and viola we have dark spots.  So if blacks, browns, and whites all have the same amount of the same chemical in our skin, why is skin color so important to us?

We've been taught.  We have been taught that skin color is important and associated with all kinds of other traits - thick lips, thick noses, laziness, musicality, sports ability, low intelligence -- all these things are stereotypes that have nothing to do with skin color.  They have nothing to do with each other at all.  Except that we have been taught over generations and generations that they go together with a shade of skin.  It is a result of sin, of disconnection, that we look at our differences and assign blame and shame because of them.

God teaches us that we come from the same family, the same Creator, and that our sameness is more important than our differences.  Our differences are meant to help us complement and teach each other different perspectives.  But our sameness is meant to hold us in unity as one family of God.  We are created for connectedness and unity, while complementing each other with our individuality.

Its not easy.  Our political views get us arguing with each other and soon we are dismissing each other.  I struggle with this.  I have a friend that I really like, but some of the things he posts on Facebook make my blood boil.  I was ready to unfriend him this past week, but after a day of cooling down I decided to take another tactic - I decided to go on a prayer campaign, praying for him as often as I can.  I'm putting post-it notes around my house to remind me.  I'm not praying he changes, I'm praying God blesses him and loves him and that he finds peace and joy everyday.

It is not easy, because we live in a fallen world where sin and shame are all around us.  We are taught to look at our differences and assign greater meaning to them.  But we can also unlearn this.  We can learn to look more to our sameness and our unity as people of one family, created by one God.

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