I have a horrible memory. My memories of my childhood are pretty vague. I have a hard time remembering what specifically a book was about a week or so after I have read it. I'll think of a really awesome phrase or unravel a problem...only to watch it slowly drift into ??? I'll try to remember your name - repeat it after I meet you, write your name down and a detail about you, go for context, but.....it takes me a long time and LOTS of repetition to remember it. Maybe I'm lazy....maybe it's just me....maybe it's a guy thing....I don't' know. But I find it frustrating and it makes me tend to go even higher on the introvert scale. I'm not a particularly quick thinker, but I'm thoughtful - and it is frustrating to just watch those thoughts sail into good-bye.
God knows me. He knows I have a horrible memory. So he patiently builds into me. Through a thought here, an experience there, a conversation over lunch with a friend, a blog post read, a book that catches my attention, a class I'm invited to by a friend...He slowly, lovingly, patiently builds into me.
I've seen Him do it a number of times in my life where there is "convergence" of thoughts, ideas, and experiences that seem to shout out life change is coming or pay attention or join me.
I'm sensing now is another one of those "building block" times. God is trying to teach me about....move me toward....open my eyes to..........something to do with a deeper understanding of people who are different than me. People who are from different races, cultures, and economic situations.
Some of the building blocks include:
Books (I'm not really going to "review" these books as I honestly don't remember a lot of details *sigh* but I would recommend them each - how weird is that!):
- Letters Across the Divide by David Anderson and Brent Zuercher - I actually have an autographed copy of this book! Apparently I picked it up in 2003. It is a true story of two friends, one African American and the other white, that explores racism, friendship, and faith thru a series of letters they exchange.
- same kind of different As me. by Ron Hall and Denver Moore - I just finished this book a week or so ago and it totally captivated me. It is a true story about a homeless man who started out life as a sharecropper and an upscale art dealer who end up becoming friends. The paths that their lives take to introduce them to each other and the relationships that form because of it are fascinating.
- the beautiful struggle by ta-nehisi coates - I read this book last year probably because I saw someone post about it or read a review in a magazine. It is a beautifully written book. Honestly much of the language that was used was unfamiliar to me - some urban terms, some hip hop, just different. But the phrasing, use of language was too engaging to put down. You should read this review to really get a flavor for this true story of a young black man's journey to adulthood in Baltimore.
Church - We have been worshiping at Sanctuary Covenant Church, a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-cultural church that has challenged my thinking. Can you say "Hip-Hop Sunday!"
Classes - City Matters - a class offered by the Sanctuary's Community Development Corporation that teaches around Urban issues. It has really opened my eyes, and heart, to issues of poverty, justice, race, and faith in the city. If you live anywhere near the Minneapolis area this is a class you should seek out and attend.
And so it goes. I might not "remember" much. But somehow all of these experiences are building into me and preparing my heart for something God is already doing and wants me to join in. My prayer is that I recognize what that is....and respond with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.