I have been amazed in the last few weeks at how much excitement there is over America getting its first black president.
I think it shows not how un-racist I am but how naive I am that I still have trouble seeing it as that great of an achievement.
When I look at Mr Obama, I see an educated, intelligent, like-able man who is a pretty impressive orator and knows how to play the political game an plays it well.
What I do not see is a black man. The color of his skin really doesn’t come in to it for me. It would not alter the way I vote, it would not alter the way I treat him and it would not alter my opinion of him.
It shows how naive I am that I have trouble remembering that for other people the color of his skin is a very big deal indeed.
I grew up in England in a fairly un-racist area and skin color really didn’t have much of an effect on me for most of my school life. I never saw blatant racism and, while I was taught about apartheid in South Africa and the effects of racism in inner cities, it was always only a distant concept to me, never reality.
Coming here to the USA I am still in a fairly sheltered environment where I don’t see racism at work and find it very confusing when I hear black people complaining about how hard it is for black people in the USA. I just never see or experience it.
The amount of jubilation and excitement that a black man has been elected president has really opened my eyes to see how different the world out there is to my little bubble of existence.
For that reason, I congratulate Mr Obama on his achievement and I pray that this will be a catalyst for racial walls to come tumbling down.
It makes me think though…. what else is there that, living inside my little bubble, I simply don’t realise is a reality for many people?
I work with a Drug and Alcohol recovery program which is WAY outside of my bubble and see regularly that many addicts live right here in my neighborhood and yet they live in a completely different world to me.
We went out searching for and feeding the homeless the other day and that helped me see another whole different world right on our doorstep.
What else am I missing?
What are YOU missing?
We have these nice little bubbles that we call our lives and our churches – and I’m pretty sure that what Jesus was telling us to do was to get outside of the bubble and step into someone else’s world.
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)
How can you step outside of your bubble this week?
For more about how we should react toward President Obama try reading this article.