My friend Luke wanted something to do at work this afternoon (he’s got a case of the Fridays, I suppose, instead of the Mondays … and I much prefer the Fridays myself!), so I asked him to be a guest blogger here. So here you go — Luke’s thoughts on multiculturalism, unedited and unfettered. 🙂 (PS – You can find Luke’s blog at www.xanga.com/zyncl19)
What does it mean to be multi-cultural, and do we really want that in the church?
My dad’s the pastor of a small non-denominational church in Wisconsin. Last weekend we were having a discussion about the state of the church as a whole, and came to the topic of diversity.
By my observation, the church in America is one of the last bastions of segregation. Whites go to traditional churches and blacks go to gospel churches. Hispanics and Asians go to churches where they speak their native languages. When is the last time you looked around your church and saw anyone much different from yourself?
(This isn’t necessarily about racial segregation. A church can be very racially diverse, but culturally not diverse at all. This is a discussion of cultural and not racial diversity even though the two usually go hand in hand.)
Many of the more liberal churches are making a big deal about this. “Why can’t we all worship together?” they ask, or “how can we be more culturally sensitive?” The idea is that since only one type of person is coming to a church, they must somehow be discriminating against all other types.
I think the reason is simpler than that. We all like to worship in our own way, our own style, our own culture. There are enough churches out there that any person can find one that fits pretty well. Automatically there’s no diversity in the church – the different people have found a place where they fit in.
Is this such a bad thing? If I went to a church where they had people dancing with brightly colored streamers during worship, I wouldn’t go back. But there are some people who like to worship in that way, and they stay. I choose to go to a church where I can worship the way I like to worship.
In order to make a church diverse you would have to include many styles of worship: the style of each culture that the church is trying to attract. I don’t think that multiple cultures can or want to worship in the same way – that’s why we have different types of churches in the first place. If a church somehow managed to put aspects from different cultures into their worship in a way that nobody disliked, I don’t think anybody would like it either – it would be too bland.
I think the system we have works just fine as it is. Everyone is happy in their own church, worshipping the same God in their own correct but different way. Each church may not be diverse, but the Church is. Is there anything wrong with that?
If you’re not happy with what I’ve written, and think me hateful, narrow-minded or just plain uneducated, ask yourself this: if diversity is more important to you than having your preferred style of worship, why aren’t you in a church where you’re the different one?