I can still remember when we got our first color television set. Growing up we had one console television set in our house. Watching TV only happened at certain times, and it was always a family time. We would sit around the TV and watch shows like “I love Lucy”, “Gunsmoke”, and special movies like the “Wizard of Oz” or “Peter Pan.” My brother and I would have had our baths and be in our pajamas, and Mom would make popcorn, and I would sit in my Dad’s lap as he at in his recliner. Black and White TV was great, because it was all we knew. Where I lived, we had three channels to choose from.
Then one day the delivery man showed up with our first Color TV. And it had a remote control. Nothing digital like today, and quite a clumsy piece of work. The color on the TV was never quite right, always too red, or too blue. But it was a color TV. At first only some of the programming was in color, and then a time went by they even went back and added color to old favorites. My children and grandchildren have no idea what I am talking about with their wide screen, high definition, and flat screen television sets in every room. There are literally hundreds of channels to choose from.
While I miss the family times of those “old days”, I must admit I prefer television today. I don’t mean the raunchiness of the programming. I prefer the color to black and white. I prefer the wider screen so I can actually see it with my aging eyesight. I prefer the digital remote, and the variety of channels.
I grew up when racial discrimination was the norm. The African Americans were called “colored people” and lived in a specific part of town. There were separate water fountains and restrooms. There were segregated schools. It was a very different day and time. But I experienced the arrival of Martin Luther King, Jr. with his dream of a day that a person would be judged by their character and not the color of their skin. I lived through integration, and rioting, and so many difficult days as our nation began to shake off the shackles of the old world order and began to move toward the realization of the American Dream for all people.
Let me quickly say that I am not naive and I do not believe we have arrived in a society that is free of discrimination and racism. I do not believe that we are “color-blind” when it comes to a person’s skin. I pray and hope we have made progress. I have heard President Obama say that we have come a long way.
Here is the thing. It seems recently we have managed to reduce so many things in our country to “Black and White”. I have said before, and I will say again, “I believe God created one race of people, the human race.” I believe the point of Genesis 1-3 is that we all trace our lineage to one common ancestor, Adam. Whether you believe that literally or figuratively, it still arrives at that conclusion. In that common race, we are blessed around our world with a multiplicity of ethnic groups. Some ethnologists say as many as 12,000 different people groups. I like that variety of color. The simple children’s song said, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” And all of the variance of shading of that color.
I prefer Color. Having traveled across America, and through parts of Europe, several countries in Africa, Peru, Mexico, and India, I love the people everywhere I go. We share so much more in common than we do that is different, and yet there is so much variance of culture and lifestyle. The colors of humanity are beautiful. We must learn to love one another. We must know how to forgive one another. We must be willing to forbear with one another.
Turn loose of hate. Destroy in yourself every semblance of prejudice. Be slow to take offense. Listen more than you speak. Find a way to walk in someone else’s path so that you might be more understanding. Jesus taught us that we should love our enemies. WOW, is that hard. We have a hard time simply loving our neighbors. Everything is not as simple as black or white. Do I have all the answers? Heck No! I don’t even know what all the questions are. But I pray that my grandchildren will see an America that is revitalized and vibrant and where all people are respected and appreciated, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “For their character” and not for their “Color”. By the way, none of this is possible without Jesus.