Overcoming “Token” Fears


September 18, 2014

Meet Kim Patton.  she is feisty and on a mission.

I want you to hear about some of the brave things  she and her husband Sherwynn are doing in this city.  Both of us were blown away by the tremendous response to reconciliation circles a few weeks ago.  If you missed it go here.

Listen as Kim and I talk about our experience and some of the tensions and the vision for the future of reconciliation in your neighborhoods and cities. This is brave for us. We talk about the word “token” and how difficult it can be to overcome this fear as you begin to pursue diverse friendships.

So, if you would like to begin conversations around reconciliation, here are a few of our suggestions.  One question you may have–is this a black/white conversation? No.  Our friend Karen Yang is a big part of our circle and adds a completely unique perspective as an Asian American.

1.  Reach out to one friend of a different race–someone you already have a relationship with.

If you don’t have a friend of a different race, it’s time to make some new friends. 🙂

2.  Get together and discuss what it would look like to bring together several friends from different races to discuss reconciliation.

Guidelines for your reconciliation circles:

1.  Have a talking piece like Kim mentions in the video.  It can be a rock or something else meaningful or symbolic.  This allows for the person speaking to feel safe and requires everyone else in the room to really listen.

2.  Before your time together, create questions  to get the conversation started.  Here are some that we have used in our circle:

What does it mean to be a transracial family and how do you view this?
 
Why does building deep friendships of a different race matter so much?
 
Tell a story about a time when someone of another ethnicity made an assumption about you (Cause) and it caused you harm (Effect).  How did that make you feel?
 
Tell a story about a time when you made a WRONG assumption about someone else of another race (Cause) and they responded to you in a negative way (Effect).  How did that make you feel?
 
In what way does your life reflect the importance of diversity?
 
What is your vision for diversity within Christ’s body, the greater church?  What does diversity look like to you?
 
What difference would it make (in your friendships, families, our community, the broader current culture, etc.) if the diversity was more of a realty in our life & church?

3.  It’s important to follow up–let this be the beginning of friendships.  We have girl’s nights, celebrate birthdays and graduations.

Last week our group got together at the park for a big pot luck picnic.  I cannot imagine if these friends were not a part of our lives.

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I believe in this more than ever and I look forward to the day that “token” is a foreign thought because life is just full of diverse friendships and the body of Christ is unified more fully as One.

 What are the tensions that you are processing?  Are you going to start a conversation? Tell us your thoughts.

 What are the other questions we can help you answer? Kim Patton will be around the blog today answering your questions. 

14 Responses to “Overcoming “Token” Fears”

  1. Ashley Flowers

    Thank you, Kim! Let me know how to get in touch with you. I live in the Park Cities in Dallas. When I have had an opportunity to worship in a multicultural setting, it has felt like a taste of heaven on earth. I miss diversity in my life!

  2. Peggy McLaughlin

    Oh! How I really enjoyed your love and closeness! We are all Sisters in Christ. I could just hug you both and will continue to pray for your outreach and purpose God has in store for you both as we Unite Together as One! God Bless You With many Blessings to come!

  3. Ashley Flowers

    Just watched the video and it was so helpful. The whole idea of a reconciliation circle sounds big, but just asking a friend to coffee I can do.:) Thank you for starting this conversation. I will be praying for the Lord to open my eyes to my own prejudices and misconceptions, as well as asking Him to lead me to some new friends(not tokens).

  4. Ashley Flowers

    Honestly, I am tired! I live in an extremely white neighborhood(where I am confident God placed me b/c I would never have put myself here). I have 4 kids and we are very involved in our community for the Lord Jesus. I have tried reaching out, but diversity is hard to find here without really being purposeful and willing to invest some time. I would love to do this but the thought of adding something else the calendar and my “to-do” list makes me tired. Am I alone? How do I find my group?

    • Kim Patton

      Hi Ashley,

      Would love to talk with you and find a group for you. where do you reside? Thank you, for reaching out and involving your kids in community.

  5. I love this. I have never been one to see color that stops me from having meaningful relationships. However I have had issues with others seeing that for me, it was ok and I enjoyed it. I have raised bi-racial children and white children and I love all children. I have been through so much with the “black and white” issue and I see God weaved through all of those not so good stories.
    I am blessed with all of my multi-cultural relationships. Praises!

  6. Jennie and Kim,

    Thank you for sharing this conversation via video. I feel honored to have a window into your reconciliation work and I am inspired to create opportunity for this at my next IF:Table.

    You are light and hope!

  7. This is awesome! Thank you for bringing this to light! We are sisters in Jesus. All of us. I encourage my black sisters to help me understand them. One of them had a car in the shop and couldn’t get the mechanic to be very helpful. She said, “Polly, I wish I could get you to go and talk to him so he would fix my car.” I said, “Why? What could I do?” She said, “You’re white.” It broke my heart.
    A few sisters who are black come to the devotional gatherings I host in the local marketplace and we all love each other!
    Last Monday night I met a precious black sister in Christ who is a door holder at The Grove @ Passion City Church in Atlanta. I was so drawn to her that I had a friend take a picture of us at The Grove and I posted it on Instagram this week…pollyisthatgirl on IG.
    I will pray for the Kim & Life Anew, and the circles. Glory to God.

    And Jennie, over and over I see that God has you stepping into some powerful stuff. Awesome. You go, Girl!
    Love & blessings,
    Polly

  8. I love, love, love this. This has been on my heart for a long time. Bridging communities. Opening up the conversation. Getting on the same page, lifting up powerful prayers. Enjoying each other’s cultures and praise and preaching. Thank you Jennie.

  9. Kim – I love you and Sherwynn. Will and I are exceedingly grateful to build the Church with you in Austin. Praying for you. Big hugs. (And you too, Jennie!)

    • Kim Patton

      Susie, we love you and Will as well. We thank God for the both of you for investing into our lives. May God continue to bless you all ministry. Love you both!!!!

  10. Brooke Mazzariello

    I love what Kim said about having the conversation to lovingly correct assumptions. I, so often, am afraid to have these conversations because I feel the need to keep myself from potentially saying something dumb or hurtful. But I will never understand by trying to go on my own and being internal about it – we need these intentional relationships.
    Correcting, learning, understanding, and truly seeing one another are exactly why we have these conversations. Therefore, my bravery and humility are required in order to enter into that.
    Then, healing can begin …
    It’s the Enemy who uses this initial fear to keep us silent; separate … – but healing is so close if we will move past the fear and enter into the brave intentionality, the new relationships, and the humble & loving conversation.
    My prayer for myself and us, as the church, is that we would respond to the call to be used by Him, and enter into conversations & relationships that are powerful and reflect His glory and vision for this world.

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