There are so many memories, impressions, experiences and recollections that inundate our culture. So much so, that it is hard to discern what is real and what is culturally preprogrammed bias.  As we view negativity in the 21st century, we find a well-established root of bitterness on all sides of the ethnic/cultural divide.

These bitter roots run deeply through the foundations that are the institutions of our civilization, including the church. But if we allow these roots to grow, no matter how many times we cut down the tree of division, these roots still exist. What the emancipation proclamation, reconstruction, civil rights amendment or the election of our first African American president cannot do, only a paradigm shift can. It can act as our societal stump remover.

“Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.” Hebrews 12:15, The Message (MSG)

A paradigm shift” is an ambiguous concept. What relevance is it to this discussion?  The website defines paradigm shift as “a change from one way of thinking to another. It’s a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change.”

Our “agents of change” are the difference makers who are not defined by ethnic origin, political affiliation, or denomination. They aren’t evangelical in name but are defined by their actions. They are nondescript people “Building the Bridge Together” over the ethnic/cultural divide and are using the language of reconciliation to make a difference.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”  Matthew 5:9, The Message (MSG)

The ministry of reconciliation was promised to all who follow Christ. This reconciliation is only a promise, but it applies to all who move in its direction by understanding that it is not one act, episode or movement that matters.  It is a commitment to building multi-ethnic relationships on the personal level and not allowing past differences to take precedence over unity.

Reconciliation takes time and participation of those on all sides of the divide to relearn our roots and to understand that we are all of “one blood.” Acts 17:26.This is the first of many roots that needs to be transformed.

People who only see the root of bitterness and historical atrocities of division wonder how we can reconcile that which was never together. They reject the whole notion of reconciliation. However,  reconciliation can become our agent of change by removing these mentalities as we “Build the Bridge Together” over the ethnic/cultural divide.

Kevin Robinson, Executive Director of Accord1

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