I read a great book this past year called same kind of different as me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore (W Publishing Group).  I even have it listed on my Resources page.  I have passed it around a bit and  one of my colleagues now has this quote from the book at the bottom of his emails.

 “every person that looks like an enemy on the outside ain’t necessarily one on the inside”  Same knd of different as me – Ron Hall and Denver Moore (W Publishing Group) 

I read that at the bottom of his email today and I think it fits with what’s going on here in Kenya.  While tribe fights tribe, they often cannot tell who is who without knowing a name.  Many people work together and play together and even worship together and do not know the tribe of those they are working, playing and worshiping with and all is well.  However, start naming names and the trouble can begin.  Hear someone speak in a native tribal language and it is clear that he or she is from a certain area.  People may have an accent that gives them away.

However, where is the love?  Where is the justice in hating someone because of their name?  Because of their tribe?  Because of their accent?

ATTENTION AMERICANS:  sound familiar?

How many times have we attacked due to such things?  How many times have we allowed irritation grow to bitterness and bitterness to hatred?  How many times have we stopped to get to know the person behind the name/face/accent? 

Are you thinking like I am of the issue of slavery and how we treated people like dirt because of the color of their skin?  Are you thinking like I am of the Civil War where people were fighting and an accent or dialect could give away where you were from and people assumed from that which side you were on regardless of fact.  Are you thinking of the Civil Rights movement where people were treated so poorly for all of those same reasons, when people assumed that some where better than others due to name or skin?  Are you thinking of how people have been judged and stereotyped due to their name and accent?  How often have you said, ‘you sound like a hick/redneck/gangster/white trash?’  What about when someone in front of you in line at the grocery store is speaking a different language into their cell phone or to their child.  How often do you get angry and assume they are talking about you and that they should just learn English?

The problem of tribalism isn’t new and it certainly isn’t isolated to Kenya or Africa.  It’s everywhere and we must fight it.  We must stand for and teach justice to ourselves and in our homes.  We must love and be merciful at work and at play.  We must reach out and help others help us.  Stop ignorance and learn about your neighbor.  Why don’t you learn another language?  It’s hard, but you will find a lot of people graciously willing to help you practice and hone your skills.  Why don’t you help someone practice and hone his or her English skills? 

This is not where I intended to go today, but watching what is going on here in Kenya and thinking of what is/was going on at home hurts my heart and mind.  How could we treat people like this?  What’s wrong with us? 

 I pray that we might all learn to love and seek to understand those who are different from us.  Christ, the great healer, didn’t come to save those who were well, but those who were sick.  If we are called to follow in Christ’s footsteps, shouldn’t we do the same?  Shouldn’t we remember that he came for us, that we are different, too?  Should I love those who are the ‘same kind of different as me?’

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