I’m sure you have heard of Martin Luther King Jr. because he is a big part of American history. I suggest taking time to read and listen to any recordings you can find about him, but first, I want to share what he’s meant to me. Growing up as a first generation African American woman I can say, I know who I am. My parents being from Uganda, were proud of where they came from and expected their children to be proud of their heritage too. However, being black in Africa is something to be proud of but being black in America is an entirely different struggle.
Dr. King was born in 1929 into a family who loved Christ and took the time to love those around them, but America during the 50s and 60s was less than kind when it came to African Americans. He lived in a world where anyone of dark skin had to sit in the back of the bus, use a separate bathroom, children attended rundown schools with outdated textbooks, and being treated fair was only in your dreams.
The expression “lost in translation” makes sense. Some phrases don’t translate well from one language to the other, carrying the same meaning across borders is challenging. It’s only practical that people would say words get “lost in translation”.
But interacting with people of different cultures and countries involves so much more than words. There’s plenty of room for misunderstanding, but as I’ve befriended people from all over the world, sought to understand them and committed silly cultural faux paus along the way, so much has been “gained in translation” for me.
There’s a richness, a fullness to the picture of our world that comes into focus as you engage people from all nations. The way we each grew up, our own set of traditions, are a small part of the whole. Every time I interact with a new people group, something changes inside of me, like my mind is reprogramming itself to accommodate the new information.
Our cultural backgrounds shape much of how we view the world around us, including our concept of time. Some cultures have a polychronic view of time, while other cultures hold a monochronic view of time.
Being from the United States, I identify with a monochronic culture. Growing up I was always taught that it is bad manners to be late. I was even taught that it would be better to be a few minutes early than to be a few minutes late. Now, most of my friends at Bridges come from a polychronic culture, where showing up at the time of the event is rude; showing up early is unthinkable! Showing up early to an event or at the set time of the event would make the hosts rush and inconvenience them. Instead, it is more honorable to arrive after the set time of the event. Both me and my friends are seeking to honor our hosts, but we consider completely different things to be ‘good manners!’
Can you see how these two vastly different views of time might make for some uncomfortable situations or even hurt feelings?
As the Vision Conference draws near, Bridges took some time to catch up with our worship band this year, Mosaic. Mosaic will be leading our times of music at Vision, and we’re so excited to have them join us! Learn more about their group and why they lead worship.
Bridges: We are so glad that you will be with us at Vision this year! What made you excited to join us?
Mosaic: We’re so excited to be coming to Vision as we’ve heard so many great things about the conference from the past few years! I think the thing that most excites us about Vision, is the wide variety of people that will be in attendance. To have people from places like California, Denver, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Kenya, Delhi, and many more all coming together to focus on God is such an exciting and unique experience that you just don’t get in other places.
Bridges: Can you explain what worship is?
The way we view ourselves involves so much more than physical appearances. When we look in the mirror, of course we will see the forehead someone made fun of in middle school, the crooked nose, and the asymmetrical face…with the occasional pimple. We shrug and try to manipulate our looks before going about our day. Men might do a few push ups. Girls might buy a new lipstick. ‘Maybe this shade will really make my eyes pop,’ we think as we stand in line at Target.
But so much more cutting than these aesthetic realities, are the thoughts that bounce off the mirror and slap us in the face. Thoughts of unworthiness, of not measuring up to societal, or personal standards. Our inner critics silently rage in the cage of our minds, unfiltered. But our self-image is just that…an image, a representation or likeness of ourselves. So, if our self-image is something outside of ourselves and not inherently who we are, that means it’s fluid. We get to choose how we see ourselves.
We get to choose.
Wondering what to do during your winter break? Come to Vision Conference in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Not only will you experience a multi-cultural conference but you will get to explore a unique place as well. The best part will be living out this adventure with new and old friends from over 60 different countries.
Denver’s population is rapidly growing as young people flock to this perfect blend of city life and nature. They are drawn to the possibilities that a big city brings as well as the tranquility of the mountains. Just outside the city are the Rocky Mountains, the longest mountain range in the U.S. and second longest in the world! You’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of the mountains from our hotel.
During Vision we have two afternoons of touring so that you can experience both the city and nature that surrounds us. Here are some of the things you’ll be able to do those afternoons: