Dixie Darr

Go Forth and Diversify

In spirituality on June 6, 2017 at 12:42 pm

For about a year, I attended a bible study led by a friend at an African American church. One night a woman said the reason she chose that group was because it was integrated. I looked at the twenty or so black faces (who, by the way, did NOT all look alike) around me and thought, “if I’m not here, you’re not integrated.” In fact, I felt more like someone who had infiltrated the class than integrated it. The people there always treated me kindly, and a few were even friendly, so I admit that my feeling of otherness came more from me than from them.

It occurred to me that what I felt for a couple of hours one night a week might be what each of my classmates felt every time they ventured out into the overwhelmingly white (almost 80%) population of Denver, and I did not like that idea.

Although my church accurately reflects the (white) ethnicity of our neighborhood, we would love to have more diversity. We talked about it last night.

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., said “it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.”

Why is diversity good? Because different points of view can enrich our lives, expand our minds, and diminish prejudices.

While we tend to focus exclusively on racial or ethnic differences, that may be too narrow a definition. If we look, too, at diversity of economic status, age, gender, sexual orientation, professional status, political leanings, physical ability, and intellectual ability, we do better on some of these measures than others.

We have no shortage of marginalized groups in this country and a never-ending list of issues to work on. Maybe the best thing we can do right now is to focus on our strengths and form alliances with other churches and religious groups to work together on our shared problems.

Maybe diversity of churches is also good.

Start here.

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