Diverse City

Posted by Matt in restorehighland

16th street 6-web

These days we talk a lot about racism. We say things that sound so obvious, like “You shouldn’t be racist.’ But I’d like to ask why? Because for thousands of years no one really thought that was a problem. Of course, you would consider your race to be better than others, it was your race after all.

These days we say things like all people are created equal as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. But why would anyone think that? It’s not obvious, in fact, the exact opposite it true.

To be candid, the equality of all human beings is anything but self-evident.

The senior citizen in the wheelchair doesn’t strike anyone as equal to the virulent young man. The boy with Down Syndrome is anything but equal to the young winner of the recent beauty pageant. Unless…

You have in someway been shaped by the story of the Bible, a story where the image of God is in everyone, no matter their age, gender, appearance or status in life.

If you ever go back and watch those old grainy black and white videos of the African-American’s March on Washington. If you ever watch Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” One of the things you will notice is that all those people were dressed up. They were wearing the best suits and dresses, and you know why? They were coming from Church.

Every single night during the year long Montgomery Bus Boycott, the African American Christians met in churches to worship, pray and plan. Many nights they would sing and pray for hours before they ever started talking about the boycott. Because their vision for a more just and humane society didn’t come from their organizational planning, it came from their worship of a God who says that we are all made in His image.

The problem with today’s world is that we have these revolutionary ideas but we don’t know where we got them. It’s not just a part of being a good human being to be kind to the people you disagree with, mercy isn’t the default nature of mankind, and justice isn’t the default state of the universe.

birmingham6-webThe problem with the Western world is that we have just enough Christian roots to know the problem, but we’ve forgotten the solution.

Did you know that the word kindness comes from the word kin, as in your family. This is because we tend to like people who are like us.

But Jesus had a different vision.

His people were, because of His work on the cross, not to try to build their identity on who they were better than, but by the overwhelming, overpowering love of God.

This is what Jesus started and Paul planted.

The Church is a city within a city, a church of different’s that can make a difference.

A Diverse city of people.

A Church of a Different Kind.

 

This series was informed by several different resources, and if you are interested in studying further with this series, here are some great books that you might find helpful:

fellowship of differents“Paul: A Fellowship of Differents” by Scot McKnight

“DisUnity in Christ” by Christina Cleveland

“Jesus Outside the Lines” by Scott Sauls

Advanced Study:

The Gospel According to Paul by Robin Griffith Jones

Paul and the Faithfulness of God by N.T. Wright

Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought by Joshua Berman