Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Be Not Afraid

     Both sets of my grandparents-my mom’s parents and my dad’s parents-immigrated from Europe in, I believe, the early 1900’s (I could be off a bit on the dates). That was back in the days when, if the customs officials couldn’t pronounce a last name they changed it to Smith or Jones. The complex where Ginny and I lived before we moved to Florida became home to immigrants from all over the world-Iraq, Bosnia, Nepal, Russia, India. 

I noticed a interesting phenomenon common to those immigrant families and my immigrant family. The first generation-the elders, my grandparents-retained most if not all their European customs including the language (so they were English-as-second language). The second generation-my parents-retained the the language-as a second language-and some of the customs but were well on the way to ‘Americanization’. By the third generation-me-we we’re completely Americanized (much to my later regret I never learned my grandparents’ languages). Although I didn’t realize it at the time it was a wonderfully rich way to grow up.

I saw the same progression in the immigrant families who lived in my neighborhood. They got jobs, opened small ethnic shops (with lots of really good stuff), bought houses. And when they bought those houses they moved all three generations in. Our school district had an English-as-second-language program that was a model for the entire state. Now, I haven’t been back for several years but when I left things were moving along nicely in a positive direction. 

I say all that to say this-I’m not afraid of becoming a racial (or ethnic-probably already am) minority in my country. Immigrants bring in a richness and diversity that benefits all those willing to embrace it. At our core we are all basically the same. We are all quite literally God’s children and it should be apparent to anyone with a modicum of Biblical knowledge-anyone paying attention-that God loves diversity. So to those who say we are no longer a ‘Christian nation’, I wholeheartedly agree. Where we disagree is why.

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