Thursday, January 17, 2008

A new old concept

So, there are alot of ways that we are told in general how to approach diversity. We are supposed to celebrate it, and tolerate it and all these things we are supposed to do.

It is really important I guess...I was surprised at a parent conference to hear a colleague getting herself chewed a new one by a couple parents objecting to the word diversity, because it meant homosexuality (according to them) and so their kids were being taught to accept homosexuals.

Glad I wasn't on the receiving end for that one.

Learned from a colleague later that the town had passed some sort of legislation that made it illegal to be homosexual or some such thing. The state overturned it, but it still stands: the people in the town where I teach, they are anti-homosexual.

The new word I heard as pertaining to diversity was humility. I almost fell off my chair. Before, the highest anyone has reached has been "tolerance" which always left a sort of unpleasant taste in my mouth. It isn't exactly loving. I mean, I do more for my friends and neighbors than tolerate them. I hope anyway.

So this new word is exciting to me. It encompasses a more appropriate approach to our diverse communities. To me it says "How about, rather than merely tolerating people of diverse beliefs, backgrounds etc., we come to admit that it isn't really important what we think about them? How about we just be as we are supposed to be, which is loving our neighbor?"

Getting down to brass tacks, is our opinion really important? Could it be, especially as a follower of Christ, that we submit to something higher, like humility and that our response be closer to humility reflecting the biblical call that we are not to judge? We are however, called to be loving.

How does this look? Well it probably looks like what a lot of people already do, in that, we just go along, get along. What other people do in their lives is not our domain for judgment. It doesn't matter what we think of what they do. All we are called to do is to Love our neighbor as we love ourselves. That is it. And that means that this is how we feel in our hearts as isn't an act. Because everyone can tell if one is just trying very hard to do what one is told, but that isn't really how one feels.

I am sure I am hopelessly flawed, as I usually am when I feel like I have found something right. Feel free to gently enlighten me, or agree with me?


Glen Woods said...

I always enjoy checking out your blog. You have much to say and you make it worth my while to visit.

I have a new friend I have been getting to know better. He is Muslim. One of the greatest barriers to his coming to faith in Christ has been the way that Christians in his life apparently have treated him on account of his Muslim faith. He befriends them and then, when they find out he is Muslim, they have kicked him to the curb. So he started up a series of conversations with me. He seems reluctant to believe that I actually want to be his friend. It is as if I am being viewed through the lense of all the other experiences he has had.

In my view, diversity isn't the same as pluralism, wherein a person synthesizes a plurality of beliefs in order to cope or fit in. Rather, diversity recognizes and accepts differences for what they are and doesn't try to force change on someone else. I believe it is in that sense of safe belonging that the greatest changes occur, because we are allowed to be real with people.

Will he ever become a follower of Jesus? I don't know. Hopefully, I can be the presence of Christ in his life so that he has every opportunity to make that choice. Years ago I would have tried to win him to faith in Christ as quickly as possible. Now I simply listen to him and try to answer his questions the best I know how. I think we are both better for it, in a diverse, but redemptive sort of way.

Adeline said...

that's cool Glen, it is so good when people can make a connection like that rather than sinking back to status quo...