Let’s learn from people who are not like us. 7-20-13

Let’s learn from people who are not like us.


“We need to commit to relating to people across cultural and racial lines. Other cultures have much to offer. For example, we may have the beautiful cities, but we lack the relationships. We may have the freedom to enjoy this world, but we lack family ties and people to enjoy this world with. Let’s learn from other people who are not like us.” – Kevin Jesmer 7-20-13

This is in response to this internet post:

“White evangelical just asked my if there were any “Christian books” to help learn about the black experience. Conservatives Protestants seem to prefer learning from a distance. My recommendation was to skip the books and actually have some black friends as peers (esp. from the the black church tradition) and the kind that won’t allow you to rest in your socio-cultural assumptions (i.e., they will call you out). There is nothing more powerfully challenging than to be in friendship with someone from a different culture. You can’t learn about another culture from within ones tribe. You have to leave it to learn. I also suggested becoming members of a black church and being minorities for once. Part of the privilege of being white is that you can live your life avoiding peer relationships with people of color, blacks do not have that option.”

One mentor in Canadian Ministry taught me:

” It all about developing relationship. It’s not about your description of white suburbia in the US. A missionary just starting out, would be most wise to anticipating visiting in homes, playing with children, getting to know their families, going to weddings and funerals, getting to know people one on one, looking for ways to do things with the people to get to know them, being slow to teach but quick to learn and ask questions, so that once the missionary begins sharing bits and pieces of the gospel, he understands what their understanding of God is, their understanding of their world, their understanding of problems and solutions, etc.”

Another missionary taught me…

“It is best to live in community with the people. We need to live like them and work as they work.  Sure, we should have spiritual objectives, but more importantly, the Native people have to know that you are there to be their friend. The objective changes. It goes from, “ I want to convert you” to “I want to  be your friend. I want to walk with you. Let’s relate simply because I enjoy being with you and relating with you.”  We must not portray the attitude, “I am a missionary. I have something for you and you must accept it and be saved.” You must come with the intent on establishing relationships. The intent is to gain good relationships through which God can work, by just being there and living there. Try to understand the people, their dreams, ideas, visions and perceptions.”



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