The Devil is in the details

In the midst of this so-called post-racial era, including the current multiethnic church trend, all of humanity seems to be at peace with the imagery displayed in diversity photos, courses, workshops and those moving multicultural church services.  However, when we dig a little deeper into the actual relationships outside of these orchestrated settings, we find that the Devil is in the details, the difficult, deceptive and problematic side of something.  

Within every human being is a side they choose not to disclose, including our good or bad experiences.  Most of these experiences, including ideals, are communicated by thoughts, feelings and imagination.  The communication medium is usually culture, be it the ethnic culture or one of the many subcultures with which people identify.

This is why many people shy away from any talk of race or ethnicity.  A sacrifice is called for in order to bridge the detailed layers of people’s differences in perspective and the associated attribution.  The individual’s feelings need to be purged.  They include, but are not limited to, feelings of superiority or inferiority.  Consequently, these feelings manifest as a chip on one’s shoulder or a comfortable ride in the invisible knapsack of White Ski Privilege.  Rejecting these and many other notions denote the beginnings of our sacrifice.

Habitus is explained in general terms as deep subconscious feelings that draw us to some, or repel us from others.  This most definitely becomes the difficult, deceptive and problematic side of something.  As followers of Christ, the sacrifice we make is when we deny these tendencies regardless of their influence.

“With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give Him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him.  Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.”  Romans 12 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

The details of reaching into the world of a different ethnic group or race are the social grunt work for which few of us really have the patience or the stomach.  We often simplify our black and white worlds by thinking, “You’re wrong and I’m right.”  However, we may have to discard our comfortable ideals, experienced on all sides of the ethnic/cultural divide.  This disconnect makes it clear that, the Devil is in the details.

The details are the fine print narratives that make up our and our neighbors’ lives.  Down in the “nitty gritty” of Bridge Building Interaction we find the ugly truths of each other’s thoughts, stereotypes and prejudices.  If we can track their many sources and/or events, then we can vanquish them.  However, there are feelings of hurt, fear, distrust and anxiety of other ethnic groups that can’t be explained (i.e., the Devil is in the details).

“But if we say we love God and don’t love each other, we are liars.  We cannot see God.  So how can we love God, if we don’t love the people we can see?”  1 John 4:20 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Kevin Robinson, Executive Director of Accord1

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