Month: May 2019

Accepting Race

If you see a red light on the road, you stop; if you see a green light on the road, you go; if you look at books in my classroom you know that blue or black writing is from pupils class work, green pen is pupils improvement work, and pink is my marking. Colour, in these situations is important, and we know what that colour means because we have been told… it is based on information we have been given.

People have been known to make certain assumptions based on the colour of people’s skin, however, although this may be down to information they have been told, or experiences they may have had, it doesn’t actually tell you anything about the person involved at the time.

In our final week looking at the equality act, we are looking at the characteristic of race. I have mentioned this before but I do tapestry, for the tapestry to work I need to use different colours, different shades. It is only by using different colours and shades that I am able to create a picture. It’s the same in the world, we need people of different races to create the society we are in now, blessed by so many different cultures and backgrounds. Growing up, I loved going to my friends house who lived up the road because she was my friend, I also enjoyed the games console she had, and also her family came from India, and I loved the India snacks that they had!

Many of you will enjoy foods, music, art which have all been influenced by, or come directly from other cultures. And yet… we still hear about racist comments being used in football matches, inequality about employment based on race, as well as general racism in the day to day.

William Faulkner says “To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or colour is like living in Alaska and being against snow”

There are times when colour and origin is important and tell us something about the situation, however with people that is not the case. That isn’t to say that colour and origin are not important for people, and it will have an impact on who they are BUT we should take the time to get to know them as a whole person before assuming that know everything about them by looking at their skin, or based on where they come from.

In the book of acts it says

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. Acts 10:34-35

If God doesn’t show favouritism then we should not know favouritism. We should accept people no matter where they come from, and consider the actions they do rather than something they are not in control of.

Challenge: how can we celebrate the diversity amongst us, rather than criticising it?

Prayer: thank you God that you created us all, that we aren’t all the same. Help to see others through your eyes, rather than the eyes of others. Amen

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Accepting religion

Are you religious?

A question which, as a religious studies teacher, I get asked a lot. My answer, is always… No! I am a Christian, and I go to Church, but I am not religious.

Personally, I associate the term religious with following lots of rules. There are a LOT of rules in the Old Testament, but Jesus summarises them by saying Love your God and love your neighbour. At no point does Jesus belittle the rules of the Old Testament, but he recognised that people were getting caught up in the rules, as opposed to why the rules were given in the first place.

After summarising the law, he then tells the story of the Good Samaritan to emphasise that someone who follows the rules doesn’t necessarily do the right thing, and the person was a neighbour, the person whose example Jesus told them to follow was the Samaritan. The Samaritan was considered an enemy to the Jews and the Samaritan would not have been following the Jewish law. However, those who were considered high up in Jewish law did not act like neighbours.

Mahatma Gandhi famously said “God has no religion”

I imagine over time that this has caused a lot of upset, however, a religion is a belief system followed by people. For most religions it is a belief in God that is followed, that manifests itself in different ways but there are also a lot of similarities.

It is easy for people to make assumptions about people based on their religion. It is harder to have a conversation and find out what a persons beliefs are and how that affects their life. But which would bring love in to the world?

Accepting Disability

As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. Galatians 4:13-14

So often we find it easier to focus on the things that we are unable to do, than those things we are able to do. We may often do that with other people as well, focus on what consider to be weaknesses rather than what they do well and what they bring to us.

This week, we are focussing on the equality act’s protected characteristic of disability. There are so many issues surrounding this that it may be difficult to focus – but I shall try. Firstly, I think that there can be automatic assumptions that people make. If they SEE someone with a disability, they may focus on what they assume they can’t do. Unfortunately people can also assume that a disability is something that should be seen, and can make assumptions about people who seemingly don’t have disability but may be using disabled systems.

Martina Navratalova said “disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing we’ll you are needed”

Absolutely everyone has something that they can do that others can’t. Everyone has abilities that are a blessing to other people.

As with all of the protected characteristics, a lot of the time all it would take is a bit of time to get to know other people to see what their situation is, and to know how they can be helped to be able to reach their full potential.

Another issue, that possibly doesn’t help perception, is the word itself – disability. It automatically suggests it’s a bad thing, that that person is at a disadvantage. However, is that always the case? In Galatians Paul writes

As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. Galatians 4:13-14

This shows us two things, good things can come out of what we call a disability, but also we should welcome, embrace, encourage those with disabilities, as if they are Christ.

Prayer: thank you Lord that you made us individually and that you love us. Thank you that we can all bring something to society, and help us to see that everyone has a part to play. Amen

Challenge: encourage those around you by telling them their abilities and what they bring to your life