Are We The Same or Different?

Are We The Same or Different? August 27, 2013

are we the same or different

I’m so excited to guest post on Grace’s blog – and I hope you’ll find it worth your time to read it! (To make it easier, I’ll try to keep things short.)

It won’t take long for you to notice that my writing style is different from Grace’s. She writes as the free spirit she is, full of passion and spilling her heart without hesitation – or reservation. My writing leans towards structure, is at times careful, and may border on proper.

In honor of Grace (since this is her blog, after all), I’ll try to keep things flowing, just like her. However, I’ll avoid trying to insert pop-culture references and use the latest jargon, because that would make me look like a poser. And no one wants that.

Another difference between Grace and me is that she’s a she and I’m a he. I think the majority of Grace’s regular readers are of the feminine variety, but I don’t think my maleness will get in our way.

Oh and there’s one more difference. I’m a bit embarrassed to mention it, but I have this problem where I think that I’m her age. (Sorry Grace.) The reality is that I was out of high school before she was born. So for most of you, that makes me really, really old.

But I don’t think about these differences. I focus on how we’re the same. We live in the same town, go to the same church, and are in the same writers group. We’re both Michiganders by birth, wordsmiths by choice, and followers of Jesus. We both desire to see our faith in action, to pursue Jesus with passion, and to encourage others on their faith journeys. We’re traveling on the same path and going in the same direction, helping each other along the way.

When I hang out with Grace (and her hubby, Dave – did I mention what an awesome, fun couple they are?), I mostly see how we’re the same. Our differences are small and don’t matter.

However, when I read Grace’s blog, all I see are differences. Painfully, her posts remind me that I’m white, while she’s not. Then I realize just how sheltered and clueless I am when it comes to issues of race.

Yes, I’m mentally aware that Grace is biracial and identifies more with the African American community. But I don’t see her that way. To me, she’s a person just like me. The color of our skin doesn’t distinguish us. But what I forget is that the color of her skin has affected how others have treated her for her entire life, forming her into who she is today. Acknowledging the pain and prejudice she’s endured, brings tears to my eyes.

I want to live in a colorblind world, where skin tone receives no different treatment than hair color (yes, we can change the hue of our hair, so don’t carry the similarity too far).

Maybe I’m idealistic when it comes to race; perhaps I’m naïve. But my friend Grace is patient with me, using her posts to teach me what I don’t know, offering lots of love as she does, along with much grace, just as her name implies.

So, are we the same or different? When I seriously contemplate it, I don’t know. What I do know is that as long as we keep talking about race issues, we’re further ahead than if we don’t.

photo credit


peter_dehaan Jesus-follower and wordsmith Peter DeHaan blogs at Spiritually Speaking (, where you can download his free e-book My Faith Manifesto, sign up for his monthly newsletter, or connect with him via social media.

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  • Jillie

    Dear Mr. Peter DeHaan….I enjoyed your words today! Thank you for putting into words what I so often feel reading Grace. I too, am made painfully aware that I am white, and that I know little about the deep issues of race, although I have tried all of my adult years to understand better the long and difficult journey of people of colour. What a rich history they have, even though changes have come so very slowly. Personally, I don’t understand WHY this continues to be such an issue—we’re in the 21st Century for cryin’ out loud!!! It’s about time we lay down the sword, don’t ‘ya think???
    I do believe the human heart is the same in all persons. We all want peace and love, all of us. In that we are the same. But, skin colour does make us “different”. I say, “Viva la difference!!!” How boring it would be if everyone looked, talked, walked, like us! I am often downright ashamed of my “race”. I believe we are all one race—the Human Race.
    And Grace? She is just too, too cool!!! I love her.

    • Yes, Jillie, it would be truly boring if we all looked the same — especially if everyone looked like me! Yuck!

  • Erica Guthaus

    Peter! It’s so fantastic to hear your voice here! “I want to live in a colorblind world, where skin tone receives no different treatment than hair color…” <—I want this too. I'm hopeful that we're successfully raising our kids to carry on a that life of blindness even in spite of a world that wants anything but.

  • Yes! May our efforts today, make for a different tomorrow for our kids.

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