A Beautiful Spectrum

¡Guao! ¡Qué blanquita sos, Hermana Cristina! Wow, you are so white, Sister Christine!” My face burned as I looked in horror at the lady who had just commented on my ghostly pallor. And I had been so proud of the tan I’d been getting from Saturday Bible Clubs in the tropical sun! I couldn’t believe she’d be so rude!

After a few months on the field, I realized that the Hondurans thought they were complimenting me on my pale skin! Dark skin here is indicative of lower class people (many of Mayan descent) who live in the mountains. Those with more Spanish and European blood are taller and lighter skinned. In Honduras, fair skin is desired! When I realized how the ladies coveted fair skin, I described to them how American women spend a lot of money on tanning beds and creams just to obtain a lovely brown complexion. I told them that the prettiest, most popular girl in my class in middle school was of Latin descent. All the other girls admired her jet black hair and bronze skin tone. The Honduran women just looked at me like I was crazy—tanning on purpose?

When Claire was born, the ladies oohed and aahed over her blonde curls and blue eyes. I was constantly stopped in the grocery store by women wanting to know what kind of shampoo I used on her hair, as if that made the difference. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to explain genetics, I finally started answering, “Johnson’s.” It was much easier that way!

One teen in our church refused to believe that Claire was Honduran just as she was. No matter how many times I explained to her that Claire was born in Honduras and had citizenship, she said, “No, she had to born in the USA!” I described which hospital I delivered in and told her that I certainly didn’t return to the States to have my daughter. Finally the girl cried in exasperation, “Well, then how did she come out so WHITE, then?”

We laughingly told these stories later, but not all racial comments we’ve heard here have been so innocent. I’m not sure why, but somehow I’d always viewed racism as an American issue. I thought that living in another country, we’d never experience racial tension. Surely we’d never hear racial slurs or offensive jokes once we left. I was dead wrong.

Racism is not an American problem; it’s a mankind problem. Discrimination is rampant in all cultures, because of man’s sinful nature.

I recently read that perhaps one reason God chose to create different races and cultures was to accomplish His goal of creating man “in His image.” Just one man or one culture would greatly limit the reflection of our Lord. Instead, He made people of many colors, shapes, and sizes. He created an amazing spectrum of races and cultures to give us a multi-dimensional glimpse of Himself. If this is true, then racism is a most offensive sin, because it is a rejection of the prismatic nature of God Himself. There are certainly sinful cultural practices that the Christian should never overlook in the name of “multiculturalism”; but the inverse is also true. There is beauty and uniqueness in each culture that points us to the profound nature of our Creator.

I’m so thankful for the church that the Lord has given us, made up of precious souls from different classes, races, and cultures.

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou… wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. -Revelation 5:9

Enjoy a few pictures taken at our Valentine's Banquet on Friday night. We are very thankful for the couples of our church!

2 Responses
  1. Gwen Says:

    Hey, good points. I do believe racism is a universal problem with mankind. And I agree that God make us all different to show us more about Himself.
    Love you!

  2. Kathy Says:

    Sounds like the book Heaven. I'm coming to the end and really hate to finish it. Been my bedtime reading every night for awhile now. Good thoughts to sleep on nightly. No racism there but love the diversity and continuity that will remain in the new heaven!

    Wanna live on my street? It'll be noisy but I'll probably get there first and can stake you a claim!

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