Friday, August 19, 2016

Diversity doesn't build community and is not a Biblical concept

The focus by the preacher of the week at Lakeside, Aug. 14-19, has been "community." I've only attended one session, but it has given us and our neighbors a lot to talk about as we walk to programs together, have neighborhood pot lucks, sail together, picnic together in the park, and check each others homes and pets for safety. I've decided the sense community comes much faster in a gated community with a common cultural base, which in our case is Christianity. Lakeside began as a community of Methodists, in the days before Methodists and EUB became United Methodist and is now becoming the un-United Methodists due to social issues. Lakeside welcomes all faiths or non-faiths, but the veneer is Christian in values and it is gated, requiring a photo ID gate pass, costs money to come in because the residents pay the taxes, association dues and keep the place going (hmm, not unlike the USA). There are three Sunday services with different styles and vespers in the evening, plus a preacher of the week (probably over half are women, and mostly liberal).
And that happens in other groups, too. There are cruises advertised for gays and also for blacks and for singles. We did a European cruise for U. of I. Alumni as well as other trips, and it was an instant common place for a beginning. (Cruise friendships usually don't last, however.)  Our Lutheran church did a mixed cruise of the Holy Land with a Greek Orthodox Church and although we were all friendly, after the pot lucks and cruise, we never saw them again, although we met new friends who are members of our church. Even if your church welcomes gays, singles, Muslims, Catholics, inner city, or college students, I'm guessing they'll still support their own congregations or feel more comfortable with their group. We have a Chinese family who are members of UALC who still are active in the Columbus Chinese Christian church where they can sing and preach and do service projects in their heart language. Singles clubs on the internet and at home will continue to meet despite your efforts of inclusion. Why do you think that happens? Are the companies, cruise lines and churches prejudiced or against diversity? No. It's community; shared interest. Particularly shared sense of family and faith.
When our church went to nine-ten-eleven (varies) communities on three campuses in three cities(Hilliard, Upper Arlington and Columbus) which came together only for projects or service events or concerts (with different styles of worship and an assigned preacher) we stopped being one type of Christian community--a congregation of Lutherans-- and became nine non-denominational communities.  Seeing a friend in the Narthex or parking lot is just an extension of worship; it's part of community. Now we see friends of 40 years ago only at funerals and concerts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Even Lakesides has its communities within community. The newer, larger homes are owned by people who stay more to themselves, separate from the more moderate priced, and they all hang together to do the fund raising.