When I read Owen Hylton's book in the summer I really had no idea how difficult a series on embracing diversity would be.
I don't mean preparing the material, Owen did a great job capturing our discussion and proposing a series. Neither has the church received the teaching recticently, in fact I sense we are all open to this journey.
For me, the pinch comes when standing at my daughter's school gate on a Monday afternoon. Whilst I wait for her smiling face, I am among the most diverse group of my week. And we all stand in our invisible enclaves and only say hello to those who look most like ourselves .
Worse still, because it's a Monday and I'm tired, I have no overwhelming desire to cross any divides! I keep thinking how exhausting it will be if I try to bridge the differences and try to make a new friend... and how easy it is to stay quiet.
I write this because, in my world, this is where the series hits the ground outside of church life. And it is provoking and it is hard.
And it is about Whitley & Earley. And it's about immigration & education & identification. It's about socio economic grouping and my emotional energy.
Diversity goes well beyond gathering lots of different people in the same room. Embracing diversity is very complex and can make at least 10 minutes of your day off very uncomfortable ... ;o)
On a different note on embracing diversity: Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.