Monday, November 30, 2009


by Christine Lindsay

Being an immigrant gives one an automatic feeling of belonging to something bigger—a feeling that laps at the shores of global citizenship perhaps.

This was especially true for me being born in Northern Ireland and immigrating to Canada. But Northern Ireland officially belongs to England. So as a citizen of that country I feel genuine love and a sense of loyalty to Great Britain.

Thing is, ask any resident of Northern Ireland if they’re Irish and they’ll say, “Of course I’m Irish.”

I too love Ireland, and feel linked that charming culture of harps, beating bodhráns and penny whistles. I am Irish. Period. I can live on tea and potatoes quite happily.

So coming from Northern Ireland, I feel Irish, British, and of course Scottish. To the horror of my youngest son I also love the sound of bag pipes. I say thank you to my Scottish ancestors.

Then we immigrated to Canada. As a kid I grew up in the Niagara Peninsula just across the border from New York State. My friends were first or second generation Canadian. Like me their roots were British, or Italian, or Polish, or from any one of several shifting sections of Europe at the time. I grew up listening to all kinds of dialects and smelling the aromas from the neighborhood of tomato and basil, of cabbage rolls and highly spiced sausage, of home-made wine, and stronger coffee than I was ever used to.

Add to that the music I listened to as I grew up. Across the border in the United States, Detroit’s rhythmic and blue sounds of African American Mo-Town Music got me through my teens. Groups like The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and my all-time-favorite, Marvin Gaye and his song 'What's Going On'.

When I married my husband and we moved to the west coast of Canada we began to rub shoulders with folks from China, Japan, Vietnam, Pakistan and India. Our neighbors are also those whose parents and grandparents fled from Russia and Europe, as well as the Native North American Indian people who were here in this land first.

In Canadian schools they taught us that our population, made up of so many immigrants, is called the Cultural Mosaic. In the United States they refer to that wonderful blending of immigrant cultures as The Melting Pot.

A mosaic is a beautiful art form to view—all sparking colors and depth of contrast. The melting pot gives the sense of warmth, a full stomach, and comfort. Either way, it’s a good thing.

As I think back on my youth, I’m grateful that I feel a kinship with people not just like myself. But when I think of my Christian brothers and sisters I feel as though this blend of cultures is more like a quilt. Under Jesus banner, we’re kept warm as He embraces people of such a global . . . and Heavenly citizenship.

As a Christian author I pray that I can instill in readers a love for people who look and sound different from them, and who live in another part of this globe.

If you'd like to know more about me and my newest adventure--going to India--join me at my blog I'd love to tell you about the amazing work that God has called me to do as a missionary writer. I'd love your prayer support.


  1. I live in the middle of the United States and yes, it is pretty much a melting pot. I would love to see Ireland. It's always seemed to me to be a magical place.

  2. Christina, I just loved reading this post and your description of your rich heritage. I'm American but married to an Englishman. We reside here in the U.S. I think he feels as an immigrant that he is a world citizen, too. Thank you, Christina.

  3. As a Canadian from birth, I was always taught that Canada was a salad bowl in contrast to the U.S., the melting pot. I had never heard of Mosaic. Very interesting, I wonder if it's a difference in province teachings?

  4. Christine, your upcoming trip to India sounds great! Thanks for sharing the rich cultural heritage from your part of the world :-)

  5. Christine, your life sounds so exciting. Thanks for sharing your journey. I've learnt so much about you and where you grew up and now live in Canada. You wrote:
    "As a Christian author I pray that I can instill in readers a love for people who look and sound different from them, and who live in another part of this globe."
    Coming from your diverse background, I'm sure you will have no trouble in achieving this goal for your writing. Thank you for sharing this goal.

  6. Sorry for taking so long to get back to these comments. With the planning of the missions trip to India, I've been swamped lately. :) But to answer the 'salad bowl' or cultural mosaic question in regards to Canada's mix of immigrant people, I think you're right, it must be a difference of what province we come from. In Ontario where I took my education, that's where they used the mosaic metaphor. At least they did when I grew up. :) Blessings on all.