Monday, December 17, 2007

Life Together/ Our Multicultural Church

Matt's blog really got me thinking. Here's my end of the conversation.

So I went to church yesterday. Our new pastor looks like Rowan Atkinson and speaks on two pitches - high note, low note, high note, low note - like a Mr. Bean pastor.

But I really am glad I went. There was a true feeling of communion and joy. And that's why I go to church. I get better sermons on the internet, and I can do better "Sunday school" study on the internet, but I can't get communion and joy anywhere else as I can in my church. Deitrich Bonhoeffer was right.

I read another article on Matt's blog and it makes me reflect on why my church has its great diversity (I think about this a lot.)I don't think it is because of the efforts of our current leadership. Our deacons are generally good old boys, complete with puffy hair and cowboy boots. Our retired former pastor was an important factor ... but so far, the misfits, such as me, that became part of the church, still feel very welcome.

The multi-generational families contribute a lot to age diversity. And even though I am the only one in my local family who is Christian, I love to see that at my church some couples CAN stay married, and whole families can worship together.

Another factor is my son's mother-in-law. She is from Panama and is as wonderful a Christian example that I know. She hosted a family of 5 in her very small house so that we could have Spanish-speaking associate pastor. When that family got their own house, she hosted another family so that we could have a Portugese-speaking congregation. She used her own money to fund the beginning of our ESL mission, the one that I'm involved in.

Then there are the African-American members who are really quite diverse from each other, but who I think have great guts to go against social pressures from their community and attend a historically "white" church. Our youth group really sticks out at a Southern Baptist gathering.

But, as our former pastor said. this a delicate thing. A precious thing, but something we don't talk about, something we don't promote. We are all pleased about it, but we don't know how we've succeeded. Generally folks in our church don't gripe and analyze and squirm the way I do. I'm pretty sure if there were a lot more INTJ's we'd probably spoil the wonderful diversity we have. But I'm not too worried that a lot of folks like me will be around.

I'm not doing a good job at leading to this conclusion, but here it is anyway. I think we have diversity because the amazing work of individuals. And that is not easy to create.

1 comment:

sonja said...

Sometimes those "delicate" beginnings are the most difficult to describe. It's okay though ... have you ever noticed that plants all looked very similar to one another when they're just coming up out of the ground? That's when they are the most delicate and indescribable too. But pretty soon they begin to take on their individual characteristics and nature so that the gardener can differentiate the weeds from the flowers. I'm pretty sure you have a beautiful flower here, it's just going to take some more time for you to be able to describe it for us. We'll all be waiting patiently ... yet expectantly (in the spirit of Advent) for that wonderful day.