Let’s set the stage for this post on another Mission Year value. [also, this will be likely the beginning of a much larger conversation on a large topic]
- The group of people I’m living with this year – we’re all White.
- The neighborhood we live in is predominantly African-American, some Hispanic
- The school I work at is 99% Hispanic
- The church I attend is probably 90% (or more) African-American
The easiest diversity around me this year is racial. And yet, diversity of almost any kind seems to be tough to discuss. Why is that? (Maybe it has to do with information we are fed through media, schooling, etc. Or maybe we tend towards what is “similar” to ourselves).
According to Mission Year – “We embrace diversity as a gift from God and build beloved community across all dividing lines.”
This is good. But why do I value diversity? And how does that translate into the way I live my life?
Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out the answers to those questions. But, I can share what I know/think so far. It looks like taking time for people. I may not know how similar or different a person is from me until I take time to talk with them. I’m not good at doing this regularly, but the times I have stepped out, it’s been good.This year, valuing diversity means living in an area where I’m not the majority, shopping at the same places at my neighbors (rather than some place familiar), experiencing new ways to worship, reading and discussing books on a variety of topics, some by authors I may never have read, and discussing them with people who likely won’t have the same opinion as me.
Why do I value diversity? There is beauty in other cultures. Something intimate happens when we are invited into another person’s story. When others choose to share their culture. When I am vulnerable and willing to share – knowing the other may think differently, but still choosing to share because connection is important. Having multiple perspectives, unique talents, varied passions within a group of people points to a creative, powerful God.
Bringing those different people together makes the mosaic that is the body of Christ.
A mosaic. Many pieces put together to create one, whole, piece of art. Pieces that must be broken to fit into the bigger picture. Pieces that have their individual beauty, but also work with other, unique pieces.
Do I always appreciate the diversity around me? No. But I am learning to see and appreciate the differences in the people and places of Houston. And in this pursuit of diversity and valuing people in our uniqueness, I am learning that I have something unique to offer and a lot to learn – through our shared brokenness as people.