Celebrating God’s Design for Ethnic Diversity

Scripture informs parents and caretakers on how to celebrate ethnic diversity for the beauty and glory of God.

In today’s racially-charged culture, racism, bigotry, and ethnic pride have manifested themselves in more ways than one, distorting God’s purposeful design of ethnic diversity. Both historically and in the present day, children have learned these social sins from family members, media, or peers.

Christian hip-hop artist Shai Linne is inviting parents and caregivers to see how the gospel offers a new way, not just for adults, but for children too. Through his beautifully illustrated children’s book, God Made Me and You: Celebrating God’s Design for Ethnic Diversity (New Growth Press/September 17, 2018), Linne challenges parents and caregivers to put on the mind of Christ, learning and living out a kingdom perspective of ethnic diversity through countercultural, biblical views that don’t just happen but, rather, are taught.

Through a lyrical, rhyming style; colorful illustrations by Trish Mahoney; and a narrative taking place in a realistic classroom setting, Linne demonstrates how parents, teachers, and caregivers can start important conversations with their children. In the book, children are teasing one another about the color of their skin, and a teacher helps them understand how and why ethnic differences are to be celebrated—not made fun of or even just tolerated.

God Made Me and You is geared toward children ages five through eleven and fosters an environment of respect, love modeled in Scripture, and a lifelong embrace and pursuit of diversity. Linne closes the book with the children singing together. The song “God Made Me and You” takes its lyrics from the book and is available on his new album, “Jesus Kids”, which is being released the same week as the book.

Linne also includes a final page for adult readers, outlining six ways to help children appreciate God’s design for ethnic diversity. “Be hopeful for a future where the Spirit will break down barriers between people of different ethnic backgrounds,” he writes. “Let your children know through your words, attitudes, and actions that you believe God is at work in our world, drawing his people to himself and making us one in answer to his prayer” (John 17:20–26).

Throughout the book, Linne uses Scripture to celebrate diversity, including passages such as Revelation 7:9–10, which clearly illustrate God’s ultimate purpose in the gospel: a redeemed, ethnically diverse community of worshipers praising God for all eternity.

“God was intentional in the ways he made us to differ from each other,” Linne notes. “Like the facets of a jewel, the glory of God shines all the more brightly as the light of his gospel is reflected through different vessels.”

By teaching children to adopt a kingdom mindset of ethnic diversity for the glory of God, Linne points out how families are enriched and able to see God shine in particular ways that would have otherwise been lost without diversity (Ephesians 2:14–19).

Together, parents and children can write God’s purposeful and beautiful design for ethnic diversity on their hearts, singing out, “We’ll no longer view our distinctions as odd, but rather, more reasons to give praise to God. Together forever with saints of all kinds—this is exactly what God has designed.”

God Made Me and You is the second book in New Growth Press’ God Made Me series. The series launched with God Made All of Me by Justin and Lindsay Holcomb, a book aiming to teach children how to protect their bodies and recognize and report sexual abuse. All previously published and yet-to-be released books in this series focus on providing a biblical guide for parents to talk about important topics with their children.

Shai Linne is a recording artist who has released numerous acclaimed Christian hip-hop albums, including The Atonement and The Attributes of God. He is the author of God Made Me and You: Celebrating God's Design for Ethnic Diversity and coauthor of It Was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God.

After completing a pastoral internship at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, Linne co-founded Risen Christ Fellowship, an inner-city church in his hometown of Philadelphia, PA. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Blair, and their three children, Sage, Maya, and Ezra. 
Learn more at www.shailinnemusic.com and follow him on Twitter (@ShaiLinne).

Trish Mahoney is a graphic designer and illustrator in Seattle where she runs The Mahoney Studio with her husband, Patrick, also a designer and illustrator. They have two children—both budding artists too. Trish is also the illustrator for God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies and The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible.