Saturday, May 10, 2008

Kindergarten and Desmond Tutu

My wife has been coming home from her kindergarten class she is student teaching in and singing kindergarten songs. Because of that, I thought about a book the other called "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" (I havent read it but the I have heard the gist of it is pretty much self-explanatory...). The song she was singing went like this:

The world is a rainbow
Filled with many people
And when we work together
Its such a sight to see

Now you be you
And I‘ll be me
That’s the way we were meant to be
But the world is a mixing cup
Just look what happens when you stir it up.

When I first heard this I started laughing and went to my mini-library of books I am reading for my thesis and showed her a book called, "The Rainbow People of God" by Desmond Tutu. We laughed. I thought to myself, if only we actually listen to what we teach kids maybe we could learn something ourselves.

Look at the lyrics again... It seems to me that the problem is that we want me to be me and you to be like me also and when we dont get our way we pout and have a little tantrum like a little pre-schooler saying I want my way... and if we still dont get our way many times we fight. I am not saying no one should ever disagree and that all truth is relative. But, what are we called to do when we do disagree? Is there an acceptance of the person as a loved creature of God or are they defined by the disagreement and considered "not like me" and thus wrong and at worst not worthy to be alive because of their belief, color, ethnicity, religion, etc... (thats what happens with genocide...)

Desmond Tutu knew the dangers of war, violence and hate. But more importantly he knew the power of Jesus Christ and the power of love that he gives us. Let me end with a quote from Desmond Tutu in a speech he gave in Norway in 1991:

"At home in South Africa I have sometimes said in big meetings where you have black and white together: 'Raise your hands!" Then I've said, "Move your hands," and I've said, "Look at your hands-different colors representing different people. You are the rainbow people of God."

And you remember the rainbow in the Bible is the sign of peace. The rainbow is the sign of prosperity. We want peace, prosperity and justice and we can have it when all the people of God, the rainbow people of God, work together."

I want to hear what you all have to say... what does it mean for the "rainbow people of God (to) work together"? What can we do now, practically?


Kurt said...

Rainbow means gay.... ok, that is rediculous.

you are right to say that it is a sign of faithfulness and peace.

the analogy works beautifully when discussing issues of race and nationalism. peace happens when each color of the rainbow comes together and creates. Too often races have tried to 'create' in this world by them selves, and as special as that can be; it never as splendid as the multifaceted, multicolored people of God.

on a practical level, i think that those who have been a part of personal or systemic racism, needs to come clean and seek forgiveness. We (as white folk) cannot continue thinking that the problem of race doesn't exist. Systemically, it still exists because the sins of the past have created systems of poverty (slavery, segregation, etc. in south). Well, i am in a hurry so i cant flesh this one out for now. just wanted to make some scattered thoughts while it was fresh.

Jeff Zimmerman said...

Diversity is the key to everything and the church needs to lead the way. We must become diverse in every form including ethnicity in staff, theological thought, economic class, etc... A lot of unintentional racism is caused by the mystery, or lack of interaction with people of other cultures and backgrounds. Diversify, Diversify, and then Diversify.
On this issue, we best bring about change by influencing others with our example, if we are not active in a cross cultural lifestyle, we have nothing to offer others in this way.