Unity In Diversity!
I have been to all White churches where I have been the minority. I have also been to all Black churches where the few Whites that have come in have been in the minority.
They say that Sunday morning service is the most segregated day of the week. Regrettably that is true. What I have noticed in the church world today, is that we have a very difficult time handling diversity in the church.
The word of God is clear in that it teaches the entire church body to be unified as one. To walk in love with one another and to be enjoined as one.
The scripture is one thing, but to practice that in everyday life is a challenge we all face. The practical application in everyday life is what we find to be difficult.
One of the hindrances to having unity in diversity is Americanized Christianity. This unspoken ideology that when you become a Christian in America, you throw away your culture and begin to embrace Whiteness so to speak.
You no longer listen to Hip hop music, you try to clean up your slang, and a lot of the things that makes you authentically you, and you began to change to fit into this new sect of people.
It’s almost like when you get saved in America you go from being black to being white. I am speaking from my own personal perspective.
So when addressing this very real issues of unity and diversity, how can we ever hope to have unity if you cannot accept me for who I am. If your idea of unity is for me to be just like you, you have a very skewed idea of what unity is.
Unity is not Uniformity:
Unity says that I can be uniquely who God created me to be but still functionally a member of the body, but Uniformity is copy and paste disciples. Uniformity is sameness, its exactness.
We are not called to be copies. This is not what Apostle Paul had in mind when he said “Follow me as I follow Christ”.
Disagreeing with someone is not a sin. Diversity is not a sin. Being different then another person is not a sin, but Uniformity is. Uniformity robs God of who God created you to be.
Whites are viewed in America as the superior race. Because of that, patriotism is a lot of time infused with their faith. Politics is a lot of times infused with their faith.
Donald Trump in the Evangelical sphere has become almost like a deity. You will see certain Christians defend Donald Trump more than they would Jesus. We have Donald Trump apologist now.
We have Pastors that will ostracize you for speaking against Donald Trump. For disagreeing with anything he does. Diversity is being able to disagree with one another peacefully.
I am not expected to agree with everything you say and think. I have my own mind, my own thoughts, and opinions. I would hope that in the church of all places I can feel safe to express my perspective without losing friends.
Without people whispering about me or calling me a liberal.
There are Christian nationalist that promote conservative, and republican agendas behind the pulpit and if you speak against anyone of those views you’re condemned by the congregation.
We can never have unity if we cannot have honest conversation about real issues and be okay with the fact that we do not agree in the end. We can still be friends even though we have a difference of opinion .
Can you accept all that I am? Is the only thing on your mind, how to change me? How to make me more like you. When I found religion I became this very self-righteous, African American conservative.
I rejected my culture and tried to fit into to this new group of people, but it was not real. I now understand that I do not have to change who I am to be a part of a community. Aside from sin, if its sin that’s another conversation.
But my manner of speaking, and talking, and food taste, music, art, and political views do not have to reflect yours or mirror yours in any way. We are two completely different people and that’s okay.
So how can we have Unity in Diversity?
We have to be able to accept each other for who we are. In the book of Genesis the bible says that Adam and Eve were " Naked and without shame". That should be the goal of every evangelical Church.
A community of diverse, multi ethnic people that can be naked before each other but without shame. They can show all there frailty, all their mistakes, all their culture, everything that makes them, who they are and not be ashamed.
An environment where all walks of life can come together in Love and acceptance. The church is not supposed to be segregated and the only way we can grow and evolve in the body is to be able to have Unity with diversity.
Every one you meet will not share your views on every subject but can you still love them? Are you able to still accept them for who they are?
I pray the Church Christ paid for with his own blood will learn to come together in the name of Love.