People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
- Mark 10:13-16
I have written before about my nephew, my sister-in-law’s grandson. His father’s parents are both ethnically mixed. His grandfather is Caucasian with Native American ancestry. His grandmother is Eurasian with Dutch, German, Gypsy, other European, Indonesian, and Chinese ancestry. Our nephew’s mother is African-American.
This little kid is bold with tons of personality. He had been aggressive when he first started preschool, but he has learned. Now in kindergarten, he is a beautiful combination of bright, inquisitive, and funny.
But I will leave the description at that point to bring up a television show that I enjoy watching. I have mentioned the show before, never by name. The show consists of a moderator and four pastors who answer questions that are sent to the station, often quoting Scripture.
The other day, their questions focused around Black Lives Matter and other related questions. The panel comprised two Caucasian pastors, one of which was obviously Italian, and two black pastors, one who had one black and one white parent.
The first question was on Black Lives Matter and could a pastor support it. Everyone on the panel agreed in the slogan, but each panelist could not defend the BLM platform as an organization. There are ties to Marxism, and the black pastor that brought that up said that the group may not be Marxist, but three of the four leaders were. And also, the panel could not support their pro-choice stance, their views on LGBTQ, and their wish to abolish the nuclear family (two parents of opposite sex and children).
The next question got controversy. The Black pastors and one Caucasian pastor agreed that white pastors could not truly understand the plight of growing up with the threat of racism. Yet, the Italian pastor talked about how he had passionately approached one sermon topic in favor of the black people in his congregation, just to have one of the black members call him a racist. He had poured from the bottom of his heart and was given an epithet for his troubles.
There were other questions, and I cannot even remember the final question, but the Italian pastor’s response is something that I will always remember. He talked about one of his children marrying a black person and one of his granddaughters from that family told him that the other children did not accept her. Not the black children or the white children. In another program, the other black pastor had talked about how he had not been black enough for the blacks and too black for the whites, and his biggest beatings had been from the black kids. But after saying this, the Italian grandparent began to cry and could not finish what he was saying. Getting back to the second question above, he might not truly understand racism from his life, but he could as he loved his grandchildren.
With that in mind, let us return to my nephew. After he had been going to school for a while, my sister-in-law, his grandmother, asked him how he was doing in school. He said that he loved school, but of all the things in school that he wanted, what he wanted most was to be a “cool” kid. His grandmother praised him, telling him how cool he was in his character, his karate moves, his dance moves, his being polite, and on and on. Then our nephew said, “Oh, no, I am not a cool kid.” It then dawned on my sister-in-law that her grandson was not white enough and not black enough, and even at the age of five or six, he might make friends with the other children, but there would always be that difference.
My sister-in-law and my wife had grown up in El Paso, TX, both immigrating from Holland. The whites called them Mexicans, but the Mexican-Americans in the class knew that they were not Mexicans. There was prejudice there for being different and not fitting into any ethnic group. But as for the fights, if you fought one member of the family, you fought all nine children, so there were few fights.
Some learn prejudice from others and some simply fear something that is different. The only defense is what Jesus taught us to do, to love one another. When we love one another, we can find the true character of those around us, learning to rely on their strengths, while providing our strength to bolster their weakness. If we can accomplish that…
Now that would be COOL.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.