I get it. “Africa” is mysterious and enticing to those who have never been there – who have only viewed the continent (yes, it is a continent, not a country) through sensationalized narratives written by television and movie producers. And of course, there are certain eccentricities to be found, just as there are in any geographical region, among any culture – yes, even (or especially) American culture.
A Powerful Motivator
It has been said that fear is a powerful motivator. Certainly, when it comes to feats of superhuman strength and acts of bravery, the adrenaline and endorphins pumping through our system are most readily driven by fear. In a normal situation, I probably wouldn’t say anything at all to a wild-eyed guy with a knife, but if he puts that knife to my throat or to the throat of someone I love, I’ll be compelled to say something and/or to do something to eliminate that threat.
Last week, I watched as my friends in Kenya went to the ballot box, then waited anxiously for the results. I watched as the vote broke largely along tribal lines, as it always has. And in the fray, some of the brightest candidates – candidates who refused to play tribal politics – were unable to garner enough votes to triumph.
Who could blame him for being angry?
Here’s Jesus – a perfect person with a perfect perspective on the world, a perfect relationship with his Father, and a perfect understanding of justice and righteousness (how things should be). Jesus walks this earth for roughly three decades and sees all kinds of brokenness around him.
Those who know me best are well aware that I don’t shy away from conflict. Though I don’t seek out arguments, I’m not put off by them, and I don’t back away from them. In fact, I think sometimes arguments and disagreements are some of the most healthy conversations we can have. They make us better. They give us new perspective. If we’re truly listening and engaging in the conversation, they can persuade us to change our minds, or they can help us solidify our point of view.
Racist assumptions come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they show up in subtle ways, and sometimes they show up wearing a white hood. Most often, they are couched in attitudes and platitudes that let the racists off the hook, while attempting to validate the bigotry bubbling beneath the surface.