The disciples came up and asked, “Why do you tell stories?” He replied: “to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight.”
(MATTHEW 13:10, 13).
First Christian participates in the Reconciliation Ministry Special Offering. Learn more about the Reconciliation Ministry here. Read on for this year’s focus and theme. Give to the special offering here.
When I was growing up, I did not know many people who did not look like me or pray like me. I did not understand all the fuss about “bussing” that I heard about on television. I wondered “Why didn’t kids want to ride the bus to school? Why were people so angry?” Looking back, I realize that I grew up not having to think much about race or national origin or religious pluralism. In my school, there were a very few African Americans and there was one Jewish family in the entire school district. I assumed that I was normal and that my story was the same for everyone.
One day, my grandmother, whose national heritage was German, shared with me that in the summertime her skin would tan so dark that there were restaurants where she was not allowed to enter. She told me that the owners believed she was a Negro. This was in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania in the 30s, 40s and 50s when she was working in a segregated section of the city. Before she told me her story, I never knew my grandmother experienced discrimination because of how she looked.
While there are no longer “whites only” restaurants, there are certainly laces where different faces and faiths are not welcome. I remember
when I moved to Chicago and a friend from Washington, DC visited me. While we were on the city bus talking and laughing, people were staring at us. It took me some time to realize that they were not staring because we were loud, but because I was White and she was brown. I have never been discriminated against because of the color my skin.
That is not my story. I have, however, seen the effects of discrimination on people who I know and love. This is why I am compelled to be a part of the movement to change hearts, minds and systems that diminish the human spirit. When we take time to share our stories we realize we are more alike than we are different. This is why I support the work of the Reconciliation Ministry. Your giving to Reconciliation Ministry funds programs that provide the knowledge, relationships and tools to end discriminatory practices that break the heart of God. When we work to be reconciled one to another and each to God, we are the living story of Christ.
I pray you will give to Reconciliation Ministry and share your story.
-Rev. Jennifer Kottler, M.Div, MSM