Friday, February 6, 2009

God's Tapestry, by W. Eugene March: Chapter 1 "A New Game"

Diversity & Pluralism; in the past decade these words have become "code" for political correctness and as a result of been voiced with sneers and ridiculed by many. But the reality of our world is more than just a rhetorical device of the political left; the facts are just too overwhelming. Whether you live in a major metropolitan area or in a small city like Twin Falls, Idaho the diversity of religion, politics, ethnic make-up, etc. is sometimes hard to believe. And for some their disbelief manifests itself in lashing out and wanting to block out anyone else who is different or who is perceived as being "other". Why do we do so? Perhaps because we have so distorted the Bible and our Faith and turned these great things into something that they were not created to be.

In Eugene March's first chapter he lays out some of the statistics of the nation and world in which we live. While the global numbers are amazing, his question about how diverse "your" local community is can be seen just by driving down one road in Twin Falls, Idaho. Take a drive on Eastland Avenue starting at Pole Line and you'll be treated to a smorgasbord of Christianity (an LDS Temple, two Baptist churches, an Episcopalian church, and a non-denominational congregation that has bought out a "superstore"). And it isn't just our various Christian sects in Twin Falls, but there is the Iranian girl in my son's Kindergarten class, and his art teacher a few two summers ago was Jewish. And then there are the many different peoples who enrich our valley through the College of Southern Idaho's Refugee Center.

So it isn't just the big cities and coastal population centers that are exploding with diversity and pluralism, but also, a small city like Twin Falls in the Reddest of Red states in America. So what are we going to do about it? How are we going to respond? Does scripture encourage us to "circle the wagons" or extend a hand of welcome and hospitality to those who are other?

March ends his opening chapter with the following words from Psalm 22:27 "All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; And all the families of the nations shall worship before him." As you will come to see, these words of the Lord are meant to inspire us to look at our neighbors in new ways and not necessarily to force them against the sword of conversion.

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