I’m reading Warriors Don’t Cry, a beautiful memoir written by Melba Pattillo Beals, one of the nine black students integrated into Little Rock’s Central High in 1957. As I read about her childhood, I walked through memories that were vastly different from mine. She grew up in a “sepia-toned world, a cocoon of familiar people and places.” The few times she interacted with white people tended to be racially charged and negative. As a child, she felt like a second-class citizen, but she and her family firmly believed that God would bring forth His justice and liberty.
I, on the other hand, grew up on a military base in the 1980s. I was surrounded by people of all colors and blends of colors. I had best friends who were white, black, Hispanic, Chinese and Filipino. I didn’t believe we were all the same. I could see the differences in each race first hand, but I enjoyed and soaked up those differences. I never had to fight for my rights against an entire nation because I enjoyed the freedoms fought by those before me. Though our nation is far from perfect, we have experienced great victories won by people faithful to God’s will.
I write all this because I’m learning that each of us has a unique lens on life. We can never assume that we know what someone is thinking or feeling, especially if we have limited our focus to ourselves. Though Ms. Beals and I have unique upbringings and life-experiences, we both love and serve the same God. Our situation shapes our perspective on life, people and spirituality, yet God is able to form His love, mercy and grace to fit our personal need and understanding.
I read a lot of books written by diverse spiritual leaders. Each leader has his/her unique Holy Spirit inspired passion and perspective. After reading a handful of books, I started to become nervous and confused. Every leader was so different and had diverse takes on the world, God and spirituality. I felt like there were huge gaps between each leader’s spiritual ideology, and it was difficult for me to jump from one school of thought to another. But I knew every single one of them was aligned with God’s Word and His Spirit. They each deepened my relationship with and understanding of God with strict Bible teachings.
Instead of pointing my “false prophet” finger, I kept reading more books. The Holy Spirit began bringing a colorful array of spiritual mentors into my path, and I consumed their insights. As I continued reading, other spiritual ideologies arose, and those big gaps between schools of thought became smaller and smaller. Soon these amazing, God-breathed insights formed stepping stones that merged together to create a solid path to God. I discovered that these spiritual platforms tied together at the root of God made up His beloved bride: the Church! And God wants us to live in harmony so He can raise up His Bride that we may glorify Him.
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15.5-6 ESV).
I write about counterfeit Christianity in my article, “Empty Spirituality.”
I write about the church sanctfication in my article, “Peaceful Swords.”