I grew up with the identity of a Preacher’s Kid. PK’s, they are fondly called, or perhaps not so much.
My dad explained to me as an eight year old that I might not always find this easy. We had just moved to the town of Harrison Hot Springs, and he was pastoring the only church in town.
And yes, I did feel different sometimes. Even made fun of. Some of it was our own making when I wasn’t allowed to participate in square dancing in our gym class because it was a sin in our family. I felt that deeply. Or the time I refused to play “Jesus Christ Superstar” because I felt it was disrespectful to Jesus. I stood on my convictions . . . and paid for it.
When I truly think about it though, I was very privileged. I grew up in a loving home, and most folks in the church adored and pampered us. I grew up loving God and loving my neighbour. My parents reached out to those in the drug culture, and we welcomed them into our home without fear. One of my best friends was severely handicapped, and I enjoyed spending time with her.
We all have our stories.
This week the news has been filled with the pictures of our prime minister in his younger years, going to costume parties dressed as someone from another culture. To his credit, he admits he is privileged. He grew up white, rich and famous.
I, along with many others were trying to figure out why this was so very offensive. Until I read a very interesting article by Maisha Z. Johnson on her views on cultural misappropriation. If you have time, I encourage you to read it.
It brought me back to the time where I dressed my little girls as Aboriginal Princesses to go out for Halloween. We didn’t use the word Aboriginal. I thought nothing of it, in fact I had fostered a number of First Nation children and loved them dearly. I learned about their culture. I read books that helped me understand the deep and cyclical grief of their people. I cared deeply and have always thought of myself as anti-racist.
Last year I had the privilege of participating in a Blanket Exercise, which taught me the history of our Indigenous people. It was eye-opening and heart-breaking at the same time. I had never seen our history through their eyes. It changed me.
All of this to say that I have come to know I am privileged. And my good intentions might not always be interpreted as such by those who have been deeply and generationally hurt by those in power. For that I am sorry.
But the other thing that has really bothered me this week is our election campaign. I’m writing this in the midst of our Canadian elections, and truly, I try to stay non-partisan.
For me, the worst offense of any party is the mud-slinging, the digging for any offense to make a point. I think of Jesus words in Matthew 7 which read: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
As I observe and listen, I feel so sad. Why can’t an election be run with people working together to create the best country possible for ALL peoples? It sometimes reminds me of a sandbox, where the digging and flinging and playing dirty is taking all the efforts instead of working collaboratively to find creative solutions to get along. What a waste of money, time, resources and energy!!
End of rant.
I will always be grateful to be Canadian. We need to remember we are privileged. We need to listen to stories… stories of our indigenous peoples and the untold history of their oppression. We also need to listen to stories of those who immigrated here, so thankful to escape oppression (including my grandparents). Canada welcomed them at that time. We need to find ways to listen, truly listen.
My family moved here for religious freedom. I am thankful I can express my faith freely. I respect others who want to do the same.
I will vote as one privileged to do so. I will encourage others to vote. I will be a loud voice against mud-slinging campaigns and encourage candidates (which are very brave people, in my estimation), to tell us what steps they will take to care for their rydings and for the country as a whole. I am convicted I need to be aware, to pay attention, to others who have a different perspective. This is an important step to living in peace.
“God keep our land.” I love that phrase in our anthem. It brings tears to my eyes, often. It is a good prayer to pray, as we also give thanks for our many privileges, and are ready to stand up and speak out for the oppressed.