Bible Verse: After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. Revelations 7:9
Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:1-17
Nearly every company in Canada is being pressured to clarify their DEI Policy (diversity, equity, and inclusion). Christians can get edgy when this comes up. Let’s talk about “Diversity.”
Diversity has a specific definition these days, but I want to point you to an older and better definition that’s far more revolutionary and transformative.
First, my main point:
Most people love diversity in theory.
Few love it in practice.
Christ is leading us there anyway.
Many Christians are so caught up in the culture war that we forget that diversity is a central theme of our faith story. When God calls Abraham, He intends that “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:3). The final pages of our Scriptures speak of God’s people as those from every tribe, tongue, and nation! (Revelations 7:9) God’s people are and will eternally be diverse. If you’re a Christian, you’re not given the option of sticking to people like you.
Scripture also teaches that diversity is hard. Thirteen years ago, I married my best friend. She is the person I like best and love most, yet just being different genders gives us enough diversity to last a lifetime. The first noted challenge in the early church is between two different groups of Jews – it’s a diversity conflict. One group of widows is being overlooked in the daily distribution of food (Acts 6:1). That’s not pretty, and it’s entirely human. The difficulty of bridging personal, racial, economic, sexual and cultural differences is everywhere in our Scriptures.
Diversity isn’t devilish – it’s a Divine mandate. There is much in the DEI movement Christians will (and must!) differ from, but we must not lose the forest for the trees.
Part of our position in this cultural moment must be that of people who model real Kingdom diversity. We must cultivate diverse friendships (not just across racial boundaries, but nerds with jocks, young with old, engineers and artists, etc.). We must orient our lives around the shared worship and service of Christ. The way is difficult, but the glory of Christ is enough to bring and keep us together.
We follow the One who called both a violent revolutionary and a conservative tax collector into His inner circle together. Jesus’ plans are always good ones, and diversity is on His agenda.
Is it on yours?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, increase our capacity for loving those different from us. Let us see Your image in them. Free us from the fear that leads us to prefer those like us and keeps our world too small. You are enough to bring and keep us together. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
Reflection: One of the issues with much modern diversity teaching is that it focuses almost exclusively on gender and racial differences while ignoring the other distinctions that can just as easily divide us. Think about the people in your workplace, neighbourhood, family, and church that you find it hardest to love because they are so different from you. Now, reflect on how you might pursue deeper relationships with them as Christ calls you to.
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