The Colors of Culture
How diverse are your friendships?
We are living in a time where fear and mistrust among people of different cultural and ethnic groups is becoming the norm rather than the exception. It appears that cultural and racial divides are expanding rather than shrinking. What can we do?
We can learn to see every human being from God's perspective and value their experiences even when we don't understand them. To truly connect with people who are different from us will take the grace of God, compassion, and empathy. It will mean risking everything that we think we know about other cultures to initiate small steps toward befriending others.
In The Colors of Culture, MelindaJoy Mingo models reaching across cultures. Through vivid stories spanning several countries, Mingo shows the beauty of diverse friendships in her life. She takes risks and learns from her mistakes, recognizing that relationships are worth the cost.
"You need to read The Colors of Culture with an open heart and posture of a learner! The message woven throughout the book of stepping out of our places of comfort and being intentional in building authentic relationships in order to reach diverse people is needed now in our society more than ever before.
"Dr. MelindaJoy Mingo brings a fresh, new, and powerful voice in the arena of unity, diversity, and the role of the gospel in moving us beyond past hurts to the beauty and joy of cultivating and sustaining diverse relationships. The winsome art of personal storytelling from around the world allows us to follow the message of the value and worth of all people while pointing to deeper implications of change that occur when we allow the truth of the gospel to bring transformation in our lives and those we journey with in life. This book is written with authenticity of heart and the truth of the gospel. It will be both a joyful and thought-provoking read. This book presents a timely and compelling message not just for this generation but for generations to come."
"The thoughts in this book are critical and vital. With its practical suggestions, reading The Colors of Culture will help you strike up a conversation with your peers to grow, impact your city, and transform the next generation."
"Having known MelindaJoy Mingo for a number of years, I can hear her voice coming through the pages of her book, The Colors of Culture. Her winsome storytelling helps us enter into the sometimes uncertain terrain of crosscultural friendships. Dr. Mingo has, for decades, lived out her counsel to be patient in forming friendships with those who are different than ourselves. She engages in courageous conversations in order to clear up misperceptions. I particularly appreciate her insights into how local churches can perhaps unthinkingly assign permanent visitor status to those who regularly attend but who come from a culture different from the majority."
"Just as MelindaJoy said in her book, she has 'risked being transparent' in sharing her stories—her successes and failures—as she did not want to 'write a book that would only highlight problems.' The impact is truly worth the risk. Her stories gorgeously show us that genuine friendships are cultivated based on 'humility, vulnerability, and transparency.' MelindaJoy also encourages us to not get stuck in fear and be willing to initiate small steps toward befriending someone. It was those small steps MelindaJoy took that created the friendship we have treasured over the last fifteen years. The book also reminds us to pause, rethink, and reflect on our life's journey and consider how we are connecting with others."
"MelindaJoy Mingo is quite simply one of the finest leaders I have ever known. This book is a clarion call for Christians to arise and answer the questions, What does it mean to be Christian? and What does it mean to be human? Here is a biblical approach to demonstrating a visible gospel of racial justice. In an often careless world of indifference and intolerance, the world is searching for an expression of God's love beyond mere words. If you read this book, you will be inspired, but if you do what this book is asking, you will be forever changed. In The Colors of Culture, MelindaJoy Mingo teaches us how to think critically about inequality and diversity without getting mired in guilt or despair. Through her stories, she carefully explains why there's a social polarization within Christian communities of faith. Then with challenging directives, she shows us tangible ways this Christian culture of polarization can be repaired and even eradicated—when each of us pours love and compassion into being all that Christ calls us to be. This is one powerhouse book!"
"The Colors of Culture provides tools for improving cultural and racial understanding. While discussing diversity, MelindaJoy disarms us with Christ's love, humility, authenticity, transparency, and global experience. She uses her mistakes as teaching tools for us. Her terms such as racial righteousness and releasing our right to be right are so refreshing and biblical. MelindaJoy addresses major divisive issues with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity. This book will be a valued resource for my future diversity clients."
"MelindaJoy Mingo has traveled the world, and The Colors of Culture gives us a glimpse into her journey. MelindaJoy provides a well-rounded, authentic perspective for engaging individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds, including building relationships of mutual respect. Her approach of treating everyone with value, dignity, and worth truly embodies how she lives her life. The Colors of Culture is a must-read!"
"MelindaJoy Mingo not only talks the talk, she walks the walk. We have shared the stage at our church speaking about the very issues facing our culture today that she so beautifully handles in this book. The world needs more of Dr. Mingo. Every time I am around her I learn more. I cannot wait for you to experience her deep wisdom and passion, love, and compassion for all people as you read this much-needed message for our world today."
"A treatise on the love of neighbor, The Colors of Culture challenges us to move beyond the us-versus-them mentality, inviting us to see cultural differences through the eyes of Jesus. M. J. provides a comfortable and enjoyable read on the difficult subject of race and culture, uncovering her own personal biases and aha moments along the way. Her ubuntu stories are transparent, offering the right handles to the basket of this important topic. The recommended practices are tried and tested principles that I have personally witnessed M. J. living out. I dare you to reflect on these truths, move out of your comfort zone, embrace the beauty of diverse friendships, and experience the difference it will make in your city."
"A must-read with an open embrace is right here in The Colors of Culture! This book is an astounding body of work with truth and remedy on topics that have been misinterpreted and misunderstood for far too long. The message in this book comes straight from our Holy Great Spirit Creator. Dr. MelindaJoy's compelling accounts of humanness come through both her personal life's encounters and how she has observed others. This is evidenced in how she has built relationships and bridges in places that are close to her heart.
"I am honored to say that we have more than ten years of working together both on the reservations, within the inner cities, and in multicultural communities all over Turtle Island (US). She is one who makes no apology in the book with regard to her ancestry or her birthright and has a remarkably rooted confidence in her beautiful indigenous (Native First Nation and African) heritage. She is both compassionate and courageous with her message during this moment in time and presents a compelling viewpoint of our humanness and how we intersect in life with others more than we realize.
"The Colors of Culture is a sacred bundle of wisdom and truly an eloquent delivery of raw remedy. I will strongly suggest this book to my First Nations people. Pilamaya~in gratitude."
"Experience can be a tremendous teacher—whether it is ours or someone else's. In The Colors of Culture, there is both the evidence of costly sacrifice and investment made by Dr. MelindaJoy Mingo to both learn from others and also to be a teacher of truth herself. It behooves us to learn from the years of her investment and allow ourselves to be taught.
"Dr. Mingo at a very young age was called to be a forerunner in building bridges among diverse people, as is evidenced in her book, and has served and lived among the most diverse on our planet. She has interacted and lived in places many of us would never dare think about going to or have the courage to leave our places of comfort so that we could learn from others. I have known her for over fifteen years, and she lives the message of treating others with value, worth, and dignity.
"Seize the time and become richer in your understanding of how to reach diverse people groups. MelindaJoy has traveled around the world so that we can just travel to our mailboxes or online to read this book and learn from this timely and profound message."
Part 1: The Connection Between Culture and Identity
1. History Matters
2. Cultural Identity and Biases
3. Lessons in Humility
4. The Bible and Diversity
Part 2: Practices to Express Dignity and Compassion Toward Cultural Others
5. Pursue Understanding in Uncomfortable Situations
6. Show Kindness and Give Honor
7. Revisit Assumptions and Embrace Cultural Learning
Conclusion and Next Steps