Rodians, Wookiees and Bith, Oh My

One of my favorite parts of the original Star Wars trilogy was seeing Luke and Ben Kenobi walk into the cantina in Mos Eisley. Suddenly, the universe opened up and we weren’t just dealing with humanoids any more. There were Saurins, Rodians, giant praying mantises and so much more. There was diversity.

Until the last 18 months I spent my whole life in pretty homogeneous churches. And that wasn’t entirely the churches’ fault. In parts of rural Iowa, the joke goes, racial diversity means inviting the German into the Scandinavian church. It’s a joke, but it’s fairly true, as well. But now hispanics and other groups are moving into all communities.

When we moved to our current residence, we looked at two nearby churches. One was a small church of under 100 (about the size of every church I’ve been a part of), but it was almost completely white, upper-middle class 30 and 40 somethings. The second church was large (over 1000 people on a Sunday), but there was diveresity–diversity in race, diversity in economic class, diversity in religious background.

We ended up in that church–we want our children to see that Heaven is going to be full of people from every tongue, tribe and nation. Being a part of a reconciling church isn’t easy. It takes work to get along with people who aren’t the same as you. But work isn’t a bad thing. And there is always a payoff.

What if our churches looked like the cantina (without the drunken bar brawls, the weapons, and the dark, seedy corners, of course)? What if they showed the diversity that God created in the world? And what if they were welcoming of prostitues, drunks, outcasts, the lonely and others in need of  God’s love? May our church never send the message that “we don’t serve your kind here.”

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~ by Dave on November 18, 2009.

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