What are we willing to give up?

What are we willing to give up in order to build the bridge over the ethnic/cultural divide?  One may ask why this is so important that I would want to consider giving up anything, which is the mentality of a lot of “church going” Christians.  They think that all of this ethnic diversity stuff is secular and, at best, a fad in the church.  Giving up something is the entire message of the gospel.  The Father gave and that is the gospel’s message.

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

God gave his best and what was very close to his heart.  He did this to build a bridge of reconciliation between a holy God and the fallen Man.  When we look at the communication of our diverse cultures, in and out of the worship setting, this question must be ask: Can we give what is very close to our hearts?

There are so many dynamics involved in moving from Homogeneous to Heterogeneous; defined as, moving one ethnic group to multi ethnic groups in a particular church or organization.  Let us pose some multi ethnic what ifs through supposition.  These can be the starting places, or even points of discussion to ponder.  However, this is in no way the complete answer to the question of this post.  We will look at some various traditionally Christian ethnic groups along with some other ethnic groups to start the conversation, in no particular order.

Can Anglos (Caucasians) give up having total control?  Often times, this can be described as dictating the rules of the church/organization.   This is better explained in the notion of “we embrace ethnic diversity as long as you come over to our cultural house.”  This cultural house includes “worship, colloquialisms and cultural dimensions.”  This can be done (multi ethnically) by the sharing of leadership and decision making roles.  The cultural house can also include acceptance of living under the advantages of the clandestine covering of White Skin Privilege.  On the other hand, can this group let go of the Rudyard Kipling “The White Mans Burden way of thinking.

Can African Americans give up wearing the persecution of “The Black Experience as a badge of honor? This also includes not being so quick to play the Race Card. Can the African Americans give up some of the worship, colloquialisms, cultural dimensions and traditions of the so called African American Church? Can this ethnic group truly give up some of these cultural dynamics for the sake of building the bridge over the cultural divide inside as well as outside of the church? Can more African American Churches become multi-ethnic in structure, in relationships as well as in the message?

Can Latinos give up some of the language exclusiveness that leads to the “Spanish only” attitude and its default practices of separate Spanish-language church services?  Can the Latinos give up some of the influence of nationalistic power for the sake of diversity?  This involves reaching out to more second and third generation members of this ethnic group and investing in their dual cultural potential to become bridge builders.  Can members of this group give up only receiving language instruction and begin to, in large part, giving Spanish language instruction as well? This could promote multi ethnic oneness in the body of Christ?

Can Africans, Asians and Pacific Islanders give up their ethnic ethnocentrism; for example, a Homogeneous Unit Principle (HUP) mentality to encourage multi ethnic unity and oneness in the Body of Christ?

Can we, all ethnic groups, bridge the great cultural divide, the tapestry of nations, especially in this country?  We could then bring about a new kind of unity of equality and not of arrogance.

It all starts with an ends with the insightful words of scripture: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation”

2 Corinthians 5:18

We have all been given this ministry to reconcile because God in Christ has reconciled us to Himself.  The blueprint of this reconciliation is demonstrated in Acts 2:42-47.  This group of believers is chronicled as having all things in common, (koinionia) sharing with singleness of heart.  There is no “my way or the highway” attitude present.

Koinonia looked so good to others that the word of God describes them as “having favor with all the people.”  All people in the original language for this passage meant all groups of people—ethnic groups. Once again that leaves us with the question….  What are we willing to give up?

Kevin K. Robinson Executive Director of Accord1

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  1. […] turbulent. However, the folly of trying to help God along as in Manifest Destiny, the White Man’s Burden, etc, has led to the proverbial “Flys in the […]

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