Society has handed from generation to generation a poisoned framework of an intricately built societal system. For years, the shades of brown have been out of their place of belonging and identified as misfits to a programmed idyllic society.  This has changed slightly, over the years, and we’ve learnt to break the webs of societal strains… to accept the shades of brown and black that make up our world.

Note the key word, slightly.

We have learnt to slightly  diminish the extreme “Us and them” plague.  But it still lingers… and it lingers to divide.

When an individual feels threatened, whether that be by power, envy, authority and wisdom, or simply by comparing themselves to others, the easy solution is to find comfort… a comfort that may be expressed, sadly, through acts of injustice, prejudice, hate and partiality.

When I was younger, the innocence of my child age led me to believe in the idea that church was the one place I could be in that I wouldn’t be touched by any partiality. Though as I gained experience in age, seeping through the cracks of the church’s brick walls and wooden pews, lay the innocent conversations of those who kept the jolting stereotypes alive.

I often hear the stereotypical saying  Island time.  Usually it is used in casual banter but often highlights a perceived ‘typical’ approach of an islander in a situation suggesting they will show up late to the event. Individuals use that saying as part of humorous cultural jargon but never peel back the layers to realize how loaded and stereotypical the saying of is, implying the individual as dis-organized, incapable and unreliable – a shade of brown.

Some individuals, who don’t belong to the culture they speak on, speak as though they know that culture better than the actual person who belongs to it.

So everything they say is filtered through what they supposedly know based on, perhaps, having travelled to the land of that culture, or knowing someone from that culture, or having just heard someone else say it is so… implying they know the individual’s culture better then the individual does themself.  You may not realise it , but it suggests an entitled idea that produces a false understanding of the other individual’s culture… which has a domino effect… a shade of brown.

Maya Angelou says, “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their colour”.

Our identity and individualism is warped in the webs of darkness when we stray from anchoring our identity and belonging in Jesus.

Paul teaches us in Ephesians 4:2-3 “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace”

John Lewis once said, “If not us then who? If not now then when?”

Moving forward lets infiltrate more love and less partiality by learning or brushing up on:

A shade of understanding

A shade of patience

A shade of acceptance

If we chisel away at wearing these three shades we will create a tapestry picturing the kingdom through dispatching unity. (Ephesians 4:3)

 Everyone wears a different shade, we just have to learn how to not colour that shade or erase it completely, but instead intentionally compliment each other’s shades, side-by side, to complete the kingdom picture.

I am cut from the shades of brown, what shade are you?

Dr Mau Tuaoi
Gilson College Community Church