Simple Tip in a Tough Week

It’s been a hard week, hasn’t it? Ongoing war in Ukraine, new evidence of Uyghur genocide, the Uvalde shooting, the Southern Baptist sex abuse report. Dang.

Even though all over cookouts are being planned, smart kids are graduating, and last-minute wedding details are falling into place, the sad gapmight be large for you right now. It is for me.

If you need to sit in the sadness for awhile, I’m not going to scold you. Wise women and men of God have done so over the years. If you tend to want to do something about something, I get that too. I sure do. Here’s my possibly crazy idea in response to the Uvalde tragedy.

If you’d just like one sort of normal thing to do, here’s a question you can use to connect with a Muslim immigrant you hear speaking. With a kind and slightly quizzical look on your face, ask, “Where’s that accent from?” You can practice this on non-Muslim people if that helps!

Depending on the answer, here are some follow ups:

“It’s from Africa.” “Really, what country, what city?” (Some immigrants assume, not without reason, that Americans might not be geography rock stars!)

“It’s from Irbil, Kurdistan.” “Wow, is it beautiful there?”

“From Cairo.” “Fascinating. Have you lived here long?”

One caveat: Some people don’t like to be noticed for what makes them different. (Of course, some don’t like to be noticed at all!) If you’ve got a better way to initiate a conversation with someone, maybe a comment relative to the immediate context, use it. But we’ve got to find ways to bridge gaps somehow, and this one often works.

Given kind hearts and pure motives, God is honored by our efforts. And I’ve found most immigrants are as well.

If you haven’t seen this special announcement, I’d be grateful if you took a look. I’m rallying interest in a challenging, upcoming project.

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