Sunday, March 5, 2006

Cultural Diversity

I have been whining for years. Deep inside of me is a strong desire to explore the world. I don't really care to see the sights as much as meet new people.

With that, my time here in Birmingham has been somewhat difficult. At least Atlanta has all sorts of crazy people. I now feel like I'm truly in the heart of the deep south though and my itching to take off for some distant land has been quite - itchy.

Tonight was different though.

I take a break from my studies at Starbucks and walk outside for a minute. I notice a table with hippie-ish trinkents. The dresses hanging from hangers on the tree have wild patterns that make me think of soy milk and ginseng chewing gum for some reason. I'm soon engrossed in deep conversation with a man from Kenya and another man from India. Three hours later, I walk back to my apartment with a huge smile on my face. See, I have been invited to hang out with the Indian at his place a couple blocks away for some good Indian food. The Kenyan has just shared with me all about his life and his ministry to the homeless people of Five Points. He spoke such truth and wisdom that I asked him to pray for me at the end of our long conversation.

Americans will travel to Mexico and totally love the culture, food, and people. Then, they will return home and curse the same Mexicans that are doing road construction. Others will travel to India and spend thousands of dollars to see Indian culture. Then, they return home and make jokes at the guy working at the gas station. Why do I often feel so discontented living in "boring-old America" when there are plenty of people from other cultures all around me? I want to start thinking differently. I want to start seeing minorities the same way I would see them if in their homelands. Tonight was quite a catch. A Kenyan, an Indian, and a freaky hippie dude that played my djembe outside Starbucks for an hour. Yes, it now appears to me that I can have a blast even in Alabama. Finding true contentment is the Lord's will. As I aim to love people unconditionally by the power of God's Spirit, He will hook me up with these rad opportunies to experience what I'm longing for - and without the $2,000 plane ticket.

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