When I met Jim Wallis and the Sojourners Community for the first time in the mid-1970s, I had no idea that I was being given the gift of new family and friendships that would be part of my life for the remainder of it. This relationship of friend, sister, counselor, and contributor to the life of the community and the love, support, and counsel that have been provided for me by the community have all come together in a way that has created a foundation from which much good has come.
In the beginning I found myself very puzzled about what would motivate a collective of young, white, mostly middle-class people to move into the heart of an African-American community to live a life based upon economic simplicity. I had many questions about the wisdom of this arrangement for them and for the people with whom they shared their lives.
The lessons from the liberation struggles of the '60s taught me that white people needed to take responsibility for their own community and leave African Americans alone. Some of my teachers, Malcolm X, Frantz Fanon, and others, as well as my personal experiences, continued to affirm the impossibility of whites really having the capacity to do anything beyond passing their guilt onto the African-American community, which was already overburdened by the negative projections of white people.
So, even though I never said it, initially I wondered why these folks didn't return to their own people and change the system that had twisted all of us into shapes that made life so difficult.
What is clear to me now, and wasn't at that time, is that God is always looking at more of the whole picture than we are. That is part of the beauty of the journey with God: God's perspective goes far beyond what most of us can see or even imagine at any given moment.