Friday, April 03, 2009

Diversity

A couple of years ago we were riding the subway through Seoul and we ended up sitting beside a Korean woman in her 50s. She could speak English and began talking to Leslie and I. This woman had done some traveling and began telling us her thoughts on the West. At one point she said, “I like Canada better than America.” When asked why she responded, “In America there is too much diversity, too many different types of people.” My first assessment is that this lady probably had not seen that much of Canada. My second thought was, that is exactly the thing I love most about America (FYI for those who don’t know much about Korea, it is very mono-ethnic.)

I love diversity! As an inter-cultural studies major I love different cultures, races, traditions, perspectives, etc. One of my favorite American cities is Washington, D.C., and the reason I love it so much is not simply all the beautiful monuments but more for the variety of people living in that city. I have heard NYC and others are similar and I am sure I would love that about each of those cities.

My love for diversity extends to numerous other areas. I love that within the body of Christ there are so many different expressions of the way believers worship on Sunday morning. I have enjoyed worshipping under an acacia tree with a handful of Masai, in a mud building with the Kamba people, in a school atrium in Charlotte, a warehouse building with the Summit, in FBC Woodstock with 8,000 in attendance and in Yoido Full Gospel Church with over 830,000 members (the world’s largest). Each of these had different music styles, different cultural dress and different expressions of worship. Some dance, some raise their hands, some sway, some pray silently, some out loud.

My love for diversity also extends to different preaching styles. As long as the message is faithful to the text, doctrinally sound and Gospel centered. I have listened in person to the preaching of John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll, Mark Dever, Andy Stanley, Robertson McQuilken, Steven Furtick, Ed Stetzer, Simeon Litik, Billy Graham, J.D. Greear, Danny Akin, David Crane and others. If you know much about preaching you know that nearly every method is mentioned between these different men. Expository preaching, Storying, topical preaching and other forms have all encouraged and challenged me at one time or another. As long as the Gospel is central I am happy to hear different methods. If it all sounds the same it would not impact the diverse audience it deserves.

It is uncertain if the Korean woman on the subway that day was a believer or not. But if she is I wonder how she squares her view with Revelation 7? “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice. ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"

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