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HOW I PRAY ABOUT RACISM

From the August 2, 2004 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Every morning, at my office, I listen to the news on my small transistor radio. I recall a recent day when the focus was on Darfur in western Sudan. I was glad that the world community was becoming more aware of the necessity to act more decisively in order to bring peace to the black African population of Sudan, plagued by the threat of ethnic cleansing and the barbarity of racism.

I was thinking how strong the human tendency is to separate people based on different skin color, tribal affiliation, and geographical boundaries. And this in spite of the fact that God created all of us as equals. The Bible asks this question: "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?" (Mal. 2:10).

Astronauts say that when they soar into space, all the different colors of the earth disappear from their view, and the planet looks just like a tiny, beautiful, blue ball. Similarly, as our thought rises to the divine and leaves human standpoints behind, we begin to see the oneness of the universe. We open our view to the higher qualities that each of us stands for. Racism basically shows an inability to see the good in other races or tribes. Yet we naturally love good and dislike evil. Therefore, seeing every race, every tribe, and every geographical entity as embodying God's goodness, is a way to heal discord and strife, and foster the unity of mankind.

Living in Africa, a continent plagued for centuries by different kinds of racial inequalities, has made me think more deeply about these issues. Sometimes people avoid race altogether by saying: "There is no black, no white, no Arab, no Jew. We are all the children of God." But Christian Science has shown me that human diversity must be lifted to a higher level, rather than shunned. Studying how God made us "in image," l've learned first to be grateful for the good I already have. And then I can work to improve it. To me, being a black African is not a matter of the color of my skin. Rather, it includes possessing qualities such as enthusiasm, endurance, intuition, and rhythm. In the same way, I often see whiteness as including rationality, straight talk, individuality—and it has become easier for me to relate to these qualities and to bring them into my own life, by elevating myself into that divine realm where we each include all the good and right qualities of our Creator, and where all of us are one universal family.

We can all bring this view—at least to some degree—to the world around us. The thoughts each one of us accepts influence our environment. That is why it's so important to look at the universe with a spiritual perspective. Looking for the good, spiritual qualities expressed by other cultures and peoples has helped me live these qualities myself. I've also been able to help people with limited views of who they are, views that often result in misunderstanding and strife.

As we all soar, a little like the astronauts, in this divine heaven by focusing our thoughts on the good we each have from God, the differences between us will start to disappear, and the universe will become a more beautiful, heavenly unity. Like the Revelator John in the Bible, we will then see a new earth and a new heaven (see Rev. 21:1). This higher view is waiting for you and me to act upon.


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