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I still shamelessly admit that my favorite band growing up was dcTalk. I have lovingly given my children the opportunity to enjoy them as well by playing my old Welcome to the Freak Show CD (oh yes, it’s still on CD!) in our van on a fairly regular basis. They acquiesce to watching old music videos on youtube with me. And then, when they start breaking down to TobyMac on the radio I remind them, “That’s the same guy from dcTalk!” Honestly, I’m not sure they believe me.

I vividly remember watching the debut of Colored People‘s music video. I grew up in Vermont; racial diversity was not what our little town was known for. While I wholeheartedly agreed with the message, I was too naive to fully understand its ramifications.

I’ve since moved internationally a couple of times and have friends of many different races and nationalities. I speak three languages. Some of my closest friends aren’t even in the U.S.A. This song makes more sense to me today than it ever did back in high school.

When we were in cultural training before our move to South America we had a fascinating discussion about seeing God in other cultures. The Bible teaches us that we were all created in the image of God. But what does that image look like? Humanity is incredibly diverse; there are no two fingerprints the same, no mind thinks alike. We are creative, expressive, interesting, smart, inventive, diverse. My children look similar to me, but they are certainly not carbon copies – not even of each other, though it was close when they were little!

Kid Comparison

my 3 kiddos — not triplets, by date or by personality, but they sure came close in appearance!

The more we get to know humanity, the more clear an image of God we receive. You know when you stand in front of those {appalling} 360 degree mirrors and every time you turn you discover something {shocking} about yourself? That is what getting to know other cultures does for your view of God.

Every culture, every race, every language puts God in a new light. There are words and phrases in the Bible that I think are more clear in Spanish or in French than they seem to be in English. Hebrew makes the Old Testament almost completely different – it provides so much insight into God that we miss out on in English. Understanding the Jewish culture does the same thing to the Old Testament, putting it in a brand new light.

Watching people worship God in their native tongue with their own customs makes you see worship itself in a new light. Even simply traveling across our great United States will show you there are thousands of ways to adore the same God (speaking of style of worship, not doctrine/theology/denomination). Every part of our own country adds their own special something to worship.

We left South America changed after living for four years with just a few American friends by our side. We lived, talked, traveled with, and did life with native Peruvians. They taught us more about God and worship than we ever received in a Bible school classroom. Our view of God has been forever altered. For the better.

See, we were not created to have a one-sided view of God. We ALL were created in his image. The best way to discover the fullness of that image is to step out of your comfort zone, your neighborhood, your culture and get to know someone different from yourself. If they don’t yet know Jesus as Lord and Savior, even better. You will then have the amazing opportunity of introducing them to the God in whose image they are made and allowing them to get to know him for themselves.

I am no longer the naive little girl from Vermont who doesn’t understand the depth of Colored People. I am a mom of three who finds herself crying while we watch the updated version – Bleed the Same – with my kids who so desperately need to also learn the lesson of equality.

There is immense beauty in diversity. Together we paint the picture of a loving God in whose image we were created. He didn’t kneel in the dirt to form the stars. He knelt in the dirt to form people. Every color. Every race. And only when he finished with us did he step back and say, “It is very good.”

I’m going to keep playing my old school music for my children, mixing the new stuff in with it, so they can understand that this is an ongoing struggle – a war that each generation must fight. Satan is notorious for taking something beautiful from God and turning it ugly. He has turned God’s creation against each other and if we allow this to continue, he’ll win. Thankfully, we know the end of the story and that won’t be the case. But, getting to the end will be an uphill battle. Let’s fight – for each other. For our children. For the next generation. Together.

DSC04864

my tiny ‘gringa’ of a newborn with her peruvian ‘tio’ (‘uncle’) who loved her like his own.

*I know I’ve pointed you to a lot of music, but “Love Broke Thru” is another phenomenal music video that brings this point home again.

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