My intention is not to place people in rigid boxes or stereotypes. I believe we all have something to bring to the dinner table that other hungry folks need. Having said that…
A while back, I did a wedding for some friends at church. When Sherry and I walked into the backyard venue, it was overtly obvious how lonely and white we were. To the credit of our gracious hosts, we were sucked into warm family conversations, laughter, dancing, and celebration as if we were miraculously given deep tans and rhythm. We were definitively given acceptance.
The wedding was so fun, festive, and family — I wondered to myself, “Do black folks just have more fun than us stiff white people?” I asked Sherry if we had been at another all-white wedding, and a black couple came strolling in — would the level of acceptance and family be the same as what we had experienced? My very question seem to give indication to the answer.
I was reading an entry from a challenging journal called, “Multiethnic Conversations” (An eight week journey toward unity in your church). The writers pointed to a worldview truth I need to understand. My black friends have incorporated a much deeper sense of collective, corporate identity grown from leaning on each other through the horrors of slavery. Responsibility for each other became a religious duty. Family and extended family virtues became strong within the African-American culture.
On the Caucasian side of things, the Puritans came to conquer a new world. Rugged individualism, success, and survival of the strong and smart was the order of the day. The role of group dynamics was tremendously minimized, if not seen as weak.
Which of the two schools of thought reflect a more Biblical worldview? Community or rugged individualism? If this is a hard question to answer, perhaps more time in the Bible is required. Biblically, we are a body, a bride, and a community. I need my black brothers and sisters help. They have something I need more of. And… quite honestly… I’d just like to have more fun!