Why won’t you ask me?
Earlier this week I was part of a church leaders conference that was addressing the challenges of living and doing church in a multi-cultural community. There was one speaker who really got animated/angry during the conference.
He’s an African American pastor with decades of experience. But when he was talking about his own journey in trying to serve in a multi-cultural setting, he said, “What makes me angry is that you [majority white Christians] don’t ever ask us!” He went on to point out that it’s all too easy for majority whites to talk with each other about the challenges, the problems, the history, and even the solutions. But that too often those conversations are devoid of the voices that most need to be heard: namely those who are in the minority. You could hear a pin drop in the room.
You see, it’s impossible to build healthy, loving relationships with others if we aren’t willing to have extended conversation WITH them.
This got me thinking about a lot of similar situations. And I realized that it IS too easy to think and talk about problems and solutions while avoiding the hard work of having conversations with the people involved. This isn’t limited to racially charged problems. It could be in a family/marriage situation, a work-place conflict, or a neighborhood problem. Sometimes the hardest person to have the conversation with is the person who we MOST need to have that conversation with. It’s almost as though that other person is pleading, “Why won’t you ask ME?”
So let me ask you (and me): In the difficult situations you face this week, is there someone that you’ve avoided talking to because it’s hard? And is that really the place you need to start the conversation?