Relationships

Some of My Best Friends Are: Thoughts on Race and Community

I’m so excited to introduce you to Laila, a blogger at FrontRowMama.com. She and I have enjoyed many a late-night Twitter conversation and I’ve benefitted from all she has to say and I know you guys will, too. Her son, whom she calls “BB” for “baby boy,” is 8 years old, and they live in the Chicago area. As you know, we care a whole lot about cultivating healthy friendships around here, and today Laila is writing about her heart for interracial friendships, a heart that we share. She’s completely fantastic, so please make her feel welcome, you guys!

Laila1

Some of my best friends are…

Have you ever hosted a gathering at your home and thought about the friends you invited? How do you know them? Where did you meet? What do you love about them that made you decide to do life together? And lastly…what do they look like?

I’m not talking about whether or not they buy their yoga pants from Lululemon or Target. I’m talking about race and ethnicity.

Ouch.

The end of 2014 led me on a Twitter monologue (sounds better than rant) about how one way to ease racial tension in the United States is for people to become intentional about getting to know one another. I’m not talking about making your family watch the entire Roots series. Or going to your nearest [insert local ethnic community] and having dinner for a night of culture.

 I’m talking authentic community with people who do not look like you.

Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Malachi 2:10

While segregation is no longer the law of our land, it still seems to reign in our lives. Whether intentional or unintentional, it has real consequences for how we do life.

How do you do that? How can you be in authentic community that is reflective of the diversity that God has created? This can be difficult if you live in a homogenous community. Reflect on why you live in a homogenous community.

What about your church? Who do you sit next to every Sunday? Your kid’s school? Who do they invite over for playdates? It starts small. It starts by taking an honest look at the people you have chosen to do life with.

God has called us to be in community with one another.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 emphasis added

Creating this type of community requires intentionality. It requires a love for God and His people.

Strike up a conversation while you wait for the school bus.

Extend an invitation for coffee or lunch.

Care about other people’s stories; share your own.

Be all in, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Sit with why you feel uncomfortable.

Pray.

Sometimes being in community means we have to stretch and find a new comfort zone. But trust we will all be better for it.

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