Race, Culture and Religion

Understanding our roots tends to give us a sense of direction in life, increase our self-esteem and motivate us toward goals.  Many adults find themselves from broken families that do not get along.  Reaching out to aunts, uncles and cousins that were never close is not always welcome.  Many people today have half-siblings they have never met.  Connecting with these relatives can be rewarding when they are receptive.  If they are not receptive, sometimes it just helps to learn about them from information one can gain from relatives or online.

Multiracial people have yet another dynamic.  In addition to establishing relationships with family members, many find themselves trying to define who they are racially and culturally.  For Christians, our first identity should be in Christ.  The Apostle Paul proclaimed their is neither Jew nor Greek if one be in Christ (Gal. 3:28).  While it is healthy to form a cultural identity based on our ancestry, many find their identity as sons of God more important.

I was born in the Midwestern state of Iowa in the United States.  I am from English, Irish and German ancestry but identify more as an American than any of those other nationalities.  In much the same way, I was raised in an Adventist Christian home and I identify more as an Adventist Christian than I do as an American.  When I am traveling in a foreign country, if I come across a group of Americans and a group of Adventists in the airport, I am going to feel more with “my own” sitting and talking with the Adventists than I would with the Americans – regardless where the Adventists are from.

Knowing our roots, where we came from and establishing relationships with our family members is important and has psychological value to it.  However the bonds of faith are likely to be just as important, if not more, than the family and cultural ties that identify who we are.

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