Books The Arts

United: A Book Discussion (Chapter 2 – My White Church)

Jasmine Holmes

I grew up in predominately white congregations and classrooms before becoming a homeschooled foreigner living in Oxford, England when I was ten.

I always felt and saw my differences, but I I liked my difference. I liked being black. I liked my history and my uniqueness among my peers.

In fact, the first time another black family walked into the microscopic church plant eight years ago, I avoided their daughter and she avoided me, because we were both annoyed that nine out of ten people (innocently) asked if we were related and assumed that, because we were both black, we’d hit it off. We were both insulted by this assertion.

Until the night we were thrown together at a friend’s house and she leaned over and whispered, “Girl, these edges were out of control today. I had to pull out the Jam.”

And I laughed and realized that, as much of an individual as I am, I am part of a broader context that this girl could understand better than my other friends. We hit it off for a lot of reasons besides our shared brownness, but the fact that we had found commonality where we weren’t used to it played a huge part.

In Chapter 2 of United, Trillia talks about feeling of displacement that she felt being one of the few brown faces in a predominately white congregation.  Of course, being part of the Bride of Christ, she was home with brothers and sisters in the Lord; nevertheless, being the lone face of her ethnicity was trying at times, accompanied with insecurity and loneliness.

I’ve been the loner. And I’ve known the refreshment of belonging, but it hasn’t been found in a sea of brown faces so much as its been found in a sea of God’s people. I have come to realize that sometimes, when I’m alone in the crowd, I am the diversity people are praying for, at least the beginning of it. Your willingness to step outside of your ethnic and cultural comfort zone may mean you are, too.

In the midst of that loneliness sits the beautiful truth that, when with the Body of Christ, we are never alone, for we have a commonality that breaks our most cherished barriers and turns them into a beautiful tapestry in his Bride.

  1. Have you stepped outside of your comfort zone to be around people who don’t look like you?
  2. When you do, what sorts of things have helped you to be comfortable in those surroundings?
  3. How should your identity in Christ affect you when you’re around Christians who are different from you?

2 thoughts on “United: A Book Discussion (Chapter 2 – My White Church)

  1. Avery

    Actually… yes, I have step outside of my comfort zone, and for those specific people who may not like me, well…. I’m praying and hoping that after various encounters and great discussion, we’ll be able to move forward. What helped me the most is simply talking to those people that may have a preconceived notion about a particular race. Are those conversations always beautiful and calm? Not necessarily. But, are they helpful and give great potential for growth? Absolutely! My identity in Christ allows me to love those who are outside of my race. To embrace them, and to consistently do life with them, and have these necessary discussions.

  2. george canady

    If a white reformed Christian man and his wife decided to join an all black Arminian church, do you think he would have any cheerleaders? Would that be to far out of the “comfort zone” ?

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