I’m a white, American, female doing ministry with Epic Movement, the ministry of Cru that focuses on reaching people with the Gospel through an Asian American context. I’ve had to do some heavy thinking about who I am and what I bring to the ministry.
Epic Movement has done a great job of training and equipping their staff and students to embrace the value of their culture. When I first joined staff with Epic and heard this, honestly, I thought, “OK, yeah…I’ll help Asians embrace their culture and be thankful for who God has made them to be.” Little did I know, the Lord was going to help me embrace my own culture.
Being a part of the majority culture caused me to have blinders to the fact that I even have a culture of my own. Everything in America is catered to my culture: the media, learning styles, even the church I go to. I didn’t really know a culture existed being in my ethnicity, I always thought that the word “culture” was for those with a different skin color than me.
Culture is a Blessing
But, with all of the resources and conferences I’ve been to with Epic, the Lord has truly taught me that I do have a culture and I bring unique things to this world because of this culture. I’ve also learned that every single person in the world, no matter what ethnicity, has a culture they identify with and because of that they have so much to offer!
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Romans 12:4-5)
These verses speak to me in many ways, one way I want to point out is the fact that we aren’t designed to be alike. You and I are meant to have different cultures, upbringings, gifts, talents, preferences, and functions. If we were all the same, there would be no body. It takes every person embracing the value of their culture to be able to reflect the Lord and glorify Him.
We can rejoice in other cultures because we know that the Gospel unifies us all. We don’t have to feel threatened by other cultures because Christ’s work on the cross.
Are You Colorblind?
A phrase I often hear from other Caucasian people when talking about people of other ethnicities is, “I don’t see their skin color, I just see him/her.” As nice as this sounds at first, this can actually be a really demeaning statement. Let’s not be colorblind. You see, there are people of different color living all around us. Instead of ignoring that, we can embrace it and help others embrace it as well. We don’t need to all be the same color, have the same ideals, talk the same, and function the same-in fact that’s not how we’re designed!
What I am learning is that I can see myself and everyone around me as a person with a story and that story could glorify the Lord if we unite and embrace who we are. I have countless stories of when I’ve stepped back and just listened to someone of a different culture how much I’ve grown, learned, and been sharpened by them.
My prayer is that you, reader, can also learn to embrace your own culture and the culture of everyone around you. I pray that we can ask questions, listen, and be ready to be a learner that will grow in your walk with God because of people whom are different from you.