Five Minutes with Alaina Mayes

Mother and baby

Mother/Father had the sweet opportunity to talk with a new friend, Alaina Mayes, a blogger, teacher, mama of twins, and all-around mighty woman about the massive topic of race and spirituality. She speaks with wisdom, grace, truth, and authority as a black woman and fellow lover of Jesus.

M/F – Share with us some of your thoughts on the connection between ethnicity and spirituality.

AM Although it is a hard thing to hear, I think it’s important to note that generally people are unaccepting of one another. We gravitate towards people like us. We like sameness. So when it comes to our faith, and we are challenged with the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves, we have a hard time. There is this “block” that stops everyone from loving those that are not exactly like us. {When I say exactly like us, I mean part of the same “groups,” similar racial identities, same socioeconomic status, etc.}

And I think a lot of times, as Christ-followers, there is a huge disconnect between what we say be believe, and how we live that out, in regards to loving other people (specifically other races). What we are taught generationally and what comes naturally from our brokenness are put in a totally different box than our love for Jesus and how we walk that out.

So I think if I could implore & encourage us all as Christ-followers, I would say, let’s really take our relationship with the Lord and the expectations He has for us seriously. Let’s not just choose certain elements of our faith to act on, but let’s embrace things like judging people because of the color of their skin as sin. Let’s recognize that loving our neighbors as ourselves absolutely means reaching across all races, all socioeconomic classes, all differences to extend grace and understanding. Let’s become more like Him!

M/F – There have been a lot of opinions and even more divisions in the church on the reality of racism, especially lately. As a black woman who feels this in a tangible way, give us a few tips on how the Church can walk in unity and combat racism.

AM – Acknowledge. Accept. Act

Guys, we must acknowledge that racism exists, we can’t try to deny it. This only intensifies the problem. We can be honest with ourselves and others, acknowledging that racism is real, today, all around us, whether it is intentional or unintentional, we will be taking a real step towards healing. As a black person, I’d like for all of us to acknowledge how I am seen, so that you will change how you treat me.      

Next, we need to accept the reality of racism, and address it when we see it (including in our own hearts). We can use the Word of God as a tool to address racism, knowing the truth that we were all equally created in the image and likeness of God. God does not show favoritism or partiality, and loves all of His creation fully. Let’s really start listening to one another, especially our black brothers and sisters who are frustrated and hurt about the continued racism they experience. Let’s slow down and ask ourselves if we are really hearing how hurt someone felt when they were closely watched at a store because of their skin color, or when their brother was shot unjustifiably by a police officer. Let’s let down our guards and engage in empathy towards one another when we hear about or see racist acts happening.

There are simple, everyday actions we can take to combat racism and love one another well.

Black people do not want to be saved by white people. We simply want to be treated equally. We want to be heard, and we want to be understood.

Excuses such as “they didn’t mean it that way….” are not helpful, and often not true.

We can all DO DIFFERENT TODAY. How one person treats another does make an impact. Be willing to have a conversation. For example, how you teach children to treat people will matter. If we are teaching children anything that sways or shapes their mind any other way than how Jesus looks at people, we must stop. It all matters.

Choose to hear how our brothers and sisters in Christ are being treated, how they feel, I really believe it will make a change. Ask God to redeem these things.   Repent, ask God to clean our hearts up. After all, “God was pleased that all His fullness should forever dwell in the Son who, as predetermined by God, bled peace into the world by His death on the cross as God’s means of reconciling to Himself the whole creation—all things in heaven and all things on earth.” (Colossians 1:19-20, emphasis added).

Alaina MayesAlaina Mayes is a proud Texas girl and mother of twin girls, Rhyann and Logan. She is also a teacher, blogger, and lover of all things Plexus!!

Photography courtesy of: Blush Carolina