Can I be frank with you? Homogeneity is easy.
Whole cultures exist where people have common stories and experiences, surrounded by people who speak the same language (both literally and figuratively). Exhausted from the fractalization, Americans daydream of such utopia, like Camelot or Wakanda or maybe Finland.
Meanwhile across our melting pot, we don’t share anything but angst. Is holding a door patriarchal or polite? Does our compliment show appreciation or reveal underlying racism? Requiring masks wise or a lack of faith? Is there any politician, educator, or mommy blogger who isn’t accused of being extreme and trying to ruin the country? Chasms cut and crosscut the nation, including churches. Second only to Netflix binging, high-stakes “Us vs Them” bingo has become our favorite pandemic addiction.
Man, a society where we’re all just like me sounds peaceful right now. Homogeneity is easy.
…But all creation testifies to God’s love of diversity: heavens and earth, flora and fauna, every human face and throughout Scripture.
Jesus sent Paul to help shake up the homogeneity of His Church, so Paul’s got some wisdom here. In his letter to the church in Galatia (an early example of an Us-vs-Them congregation), Paul writes, “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29).
Paul’s secret isn’t easy homogeneity. It’s holy unity. It’s not surrounding ourselves with people just like us, but putting our identity in Christ above all our other characteristics, opinions and memberships. Yep, even the true and just and right ones. Even the ones core to who we are or the calling we have. First, we are His and heirs alongside all the others who are His. Then comes everything else.
This doesn’t mean that we abandon our differences. When we order our identity and characteristics, they become opportunities on an eternal scale. In a “for such a time as this” twist, God has placed family members into just about every subcategory imaginable. When diverse and unified believers love one another, we form a system of bridges over some pretty deep chasms.
Our unity is one of the biggest things the world needs from us right now. It takes humility, repentance and giving up our right to be offended. We get to use our diverse characteristics and opinions to fight the good fight in our particular way, but we sacrifice our echo chambers and most things that include “it’s just how I was raised”. Homogeneity is easy, but we’re not called to easy. We’re called to be Christ’s Body.