My New Babel Table Glasses

Posted: February 9, 2012 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Bible Study, Church, Devotionals, Prayer

Aaron Jamison, YAC Member

I remember very clearly getting my first pair of glasses in the 3rd grade.  I remember how different the world looked when I put them on.  I could suddenly read signs, identify people, and witness God’s beautiful creations from a distance.  Even the night lights and stars in the sky looked different with my new glasses.  It was like I was given new eyes from which to view my world.  What a wondererous gift.

My latest pair of glasses can’t be bought at any eyeglass store though.  They can only be acquired through immersing yourself into discussions of racism, multiculturalism, and poverty.  This past summer I had such an experience through an event called Babel Table.

Bable Table brought together a diverse group of young adult Disciples to discuss and experience these topics firsthand.  The idea was to help young adults witness and understand how the world looks from different cultural perspectives so that we can help the church become more multicultural and inclusive.  The scriptural basis for Babel Table comes from the Tower of Babel story in Genesis.

Genes 11:5-9 (NSRV)

5 The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

One way to understand this passage is that multiculturalism is a gift from God meant to be shared and celebrated.

My Babel Table experience was one in which I will never forget.  The diverse cultural and racial experiences that each individual brought to the table expanded my understanding and thinking of multiculturalism.  There was open and safe conversation among us in sharing how our cultural experiences shaped our perception of the world around us.  The four day experience also included racism and poverty training as well as missional projects to further broaden our understandings.

The theme for this Young Adult Week is “Go and be Reconciled.”  The theme for the Young Adult Conference which is going to be held in Memphis from October 19th – 21st will also be a theme of Reconciliation.  The Babel Table’s goals of multiculturalism and inclusiveness in the church fits these themes of Reconciliation.  So I’m so very excited that the Young Adult Commission will be working in partnership with the Council on Christian Unity, Reconciliation Ministries, and other Disciple Ministries to take the Babel Table events to the regions beginning this fall.  This partnership will be exhibited at the Young Adult Conference in October which will include pieces of the Babel Table experience for young adults to get a taste of this experience.

As for me, I can confidently say that my new Babel Table glasses have changed my life.  I look at the world around me differently now than what I once did.  I can more easily recognize the systemic poverty and racism that continues to plague our society.  I can see how white privilege has shaped the communities that surround us.  Most importantly, though, I can see hope for a future of multiculturalism, inclusiveness, and reconciliation.  This movement needs to start in our churches and with the young adults of today that will be the future leaders of tomorrow.  My hope and my prayer is that as many of us as possible will get our own Babel Table glasses and that together we can make change happen in our own churches and communities.

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