how about the idea of intentional cross-cultural relationships [not dating, simply talking friends here] as a form and practice of worship?
that was one thing i walked away with from a conversation with an australian [of all people, ha ha] here in philly where my beautiful wife Val and i currently live and minister… and it wasn’t anything he said specifically but just stuff i picked up and grabbed on to from hearing some of his story…
i walked away with a desire and intent to read more books written by non-white people [as probably every book i read is written by a white person except maybe the Bible, depending on who is making the movie] and to build more friendships with non-white people…
which, very much like B.E.E. has already caused a bunch of people to roll their eyes or stop reading altogether, but if you are in a multi-cultural community [as we are - white, latino and african-american who as Trevor Noah says "are not really african, but we'll play along"] and you are not making non-white friends naturally, then you probably need to get a little bit intentional for it to happen at all.
so that was the plan and i started keeping my eyes open and making connections with friends of this guy via email who we will hang with sometime, but an incredible thing happened… while that was all the intentional idea in the background, God put me in a situation/space with one of the Latino guys we have relationship with as an organisation and the second time we were in the same work space i found myself thinking ‘i want to spend time with this guy’ and NOT AS A LATINO GUY TO SPEND TIME WITH but just as a cool guy. someone i want to get to know and hang out with and get addicted to card Golf or whatever we can find in common to do together.
then this morning i was in a meeting with an older pastory guy [well "bishop" to be exact which is normally something that would get my allergies going] and he gave me the book he’s written which i look forward to reading and i’m thinking “i could be mentored by this guy” and so the kind of desired intentional thing i was seeking to go and make happen just kinda pitched up [accidentally? not with the God i serve] and that is an incredible start to what i hope will end up being some authentic and stretching and incredible relationships…
how about you? what are your thoughts on pursuing intentional cross-cultural friendships if you don’t naturally have and on reading stuff written by not the usual people you read/are influenced by?
i said this before and i think i still pretty much believe it – that if everyone in your church or small group looks like you, you’re probably in the wrong place. our tendency is to commune with people who look and sound and act like us because that is a lot more comfortable. but also creates a comfortable space where less learning is likely to happen.
look at Jesus and the people he picks as His disciples. just one example is Simon the Zealot and Matthew the tax collector and i wish we had the records to show how Jesus paired the two of them together when He sent them on mission trips, because that illustrates the kind of humour that i imagine Jesus to have had. it is impossible to read the bible and come up with the profile of ‘the person God used’ or ‘the person God spoke through’ – such completely different people which is why we have stories of ‘iron sharpening iron’ and not ‘kittens cuddling with kittens’ or something like that.
i’m ready for some different kinds of people in my life – speaking into my life, mentoring, challenging, inspiring… and i’m excited that it looks as if God has started indicating some of who those are going to be.