Finding Harmony in Our Differences

I was at an event once where a speaker said that because of the thousands who were there, each one might have a different name for the Other: God, Universe, Source, Great Spirit, etcetera, or nothing at all. It felt comfortable and I believe no one felt excluded or forcibly included.

"My Kind of Church" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

Description: A line of men who look identical. One thinks, "Now this is my kind of church!"

It confirmed to me that it is possible to be in fellowship with a wildly diverse group of people. I’ve experienced this before in a couple of churches, and I do now in my incredibly diverse online community, TheLastingSupper.

At the same time, we need to acknowledge the danger in universalizing or unifying attempts to include everyone. It’s important to be alert to any agenda that, even though it might think it means well, attempts to dismiss and even erase difference and diversity.

Many unifying movements are actually infected with colonial impulses: you are not allowed to be unique or different but must somehow be assimilated into the whole. But the whole is defined by the most powerful, centered, and privileged group. 

An undying philosophical question is:

  • If God is One and unified and happy with Godself, then why did God create?
  • Why did God create such manifold diversity only for it all to be finally reconciled back into Godself again?
  • Why all this uniqueness, difference, and diversity, if it isn’t to be acknowledged, respected, and embraced?

I love unity in diversity.  By that I mean this: We are all connected at a deep and essential level.

But manifold diversity should be respected, honored, and provided space. Keeping these two realities in tension is what creates authentic, dynamic, and compassionate community.

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