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Uncovering Blindspots

When COVID happened and all our meetings went virtual, many of us got to see what we look like when we talked. We were unfamiliar with our facial expressions and the different message it was conveying when we spoke. As a result, we started to stare at our own faces during those virtual meetings to make sure they were not betraying our emotions or conveying what we don’t mean. The camera became a tool which unveiled this blind spot. 

We have been talking about blind spots with our staff recently. All of us have them, and that is why feedback is essential. If we don’t have the humility to hear it and we don’t create a safe environment where we can give feedback or receive feedback (especially negative feedback), all of us will continue to operate and make decisions unaware of the full picture. 

What are the injustices people have endured and continue to endure, but we don’t know about because we don’t live it?

None of us have perfect information or all the needed information. We need people who are not like us and think differently than we do. They shed light on another way to see things, and it is good for us to hear it; regardless if we agree with it or not. However, when we hear opinions we disagree with or we are confronted with realities that challenge the comfortable world we live in, do we really listen and wrestle with it? Or are we thinking of all the points to raise to refute it? Proverbs reminds us that it is the fool who “find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” (Proverbs 18:2). 

At times, feedback is a prophetic voice challenging our comfortable status quo and highlighting exceptionalism and the privilege that we enjoy (sometimes at the expense of others). We may not like the movements we see in the culture but what are the movements bringing to light about our realities? What are the injustices people have endured and continue to endure, but we don’t know about because we don’t live it? James 1:19 reminds us to “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” What are the books, articles, podcasts and conversations we can have so that we can hear those prophetic rebukes and the loving encouragement to be more like Jesus? What can we do to really understand?

With COVID, Asian American hate crimes have also increased.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the US and Asian Heritage Month in Canada. Some may ask: why we have a month to celebrate Asian heritage? Maybe it doesn’t seem fair. I have heard the sentiment expressed that Canada and the US should be a melting pot, so why are we highlighting our differences? With COVID, Asian American hate crimes have also increased. A growing population is angry that COVID may have originated from China, and some believe that if Asians are not fully assimilated into the dominant culture and they don’t speak English, they should go back to where they came from.  While most of the readers here may not express these sentiments, do we know what is happening to our Asian American brothers and sisters and the abuses they continue to endure? Do we know the contributions they have made to our society and community and the discriminatory laws that oppressed them? Do we exhibit annoyance and impatience or look down on people that are different from us? 

Walter Brueggemann in “Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks” explains that “the prophetic tasks of the church are to tell the truth in a society that lives in illusion, grieve in a society that practices denial, and express hope in a society that lives in despair.” The prophetic voice has always challenged our safe status quo and “rights”. Like Nathan confronting David about his right as a king to take a woman as his wife, there are prophetic voices around us that are painful to hear. While some of these messages may not be completely accurate, they may be what we need to hear to examine how we live and what we believe deep in our hearts. It is my prayer that before we are quick to vilify and reject the critiques, that we slow down and examine, because it may be a prophetic message for us that helps us to examine the state of our heart.

Photo by Devon Janse van Rensburg on Unsplash


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