I love you but...
When it comes to diversity in the church there is a difference between what it should be and what it is.
What is should be is like putting together a good stew, you add a variety of ingredients, put them in the pot with a common denominator and allow each ingredient to retain it's flavor while mixing in with the other ingredients. What you get is a delicious combination that works together for a dish that everyone wants a part of. Simply put, it should be where people of different cultures can worship together, build authentic relationships that go far beyond Sunday morning. It needs to be a place where one shouldn't have to check their cultural identity at the door in order to be accepted into the community. When that community grows, the expression of who it is begins to take on a different flavor where you can see all the ingredients in the mix but you can distinctly taste all the many flavors that each culture brings to the table.
Unfortunately, what we have experienced is tolerance and assimilation. All the ingredients are welcome to be in the pot, but they are expected to conform to the flavor of the first ingredient. The message is never openly stated but it is sent when after some time of the all the cultures are together but the expression doesn't start to reflect the cultures present, those that "mixed in" begin to question the authenticity of those who were originally there. They learn to function together but there is that underlying mistrust of the others remains and created a tension that is never really addressed until something happens to force it out in the open. Basically, it's all good as long as we ignore the issue and don't rock the boat.
Love isn’t conditional.
Love isn’t optional.
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”
John 15:12 NLT