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Nourishing DiversityBy Gena Minnix
“[W]e need to nurture commitment to the multicultural community of Christian churches… so as to make sure that the voice of our culture has not drowned out the voice of Jesus Christ.”
–Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace
Our teenage son is fascinated with vintage cameras. If we want to get a picture of God, we might say when we rotate our lens toward people who are all the same, God’s image gets blurry. But if we rotate toward diversity, God’s image becomes clearer. Following God’s spirit always seems to lead the people of God into diversity. It can be scary, yes, but diversity also has the power to keep us safe.
Diversity keeps us safe
What can diversity keep us safe from? Learning from diversity can protect us from our own blind spots. In connection with a faith community that is diverse—in gender, economic background, sexual orientation, political views, race, ethnicity, etc.—we become less tempted to cast God in our own image. Diverse community puts our theology to the test; we see if it serves to exclude or embrace.
Diversity makes us resilient
Diverse systems have an advantage over “all-the-same” systems because of the variety of resources they possess. When a system is overly reliant on just one type of person or resource, the sudden depletion of that resource puts the whole system at risk. With enough diverse people and resources, the system remains flexible and adaptive in times of stress. A resilient system is one that seeks, nurtures and utilizes its diversity well.
What additional benefits of diversity do we experience? What do the benefits of diversity teach us about God? How might we nourish and grow the diversity in our community?
Dr. Gena Minnix joined the Seminary of the Southwest faculty in 2014 as Assistant Professor of Counselor Education. Gena is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist trained in systemic and trauma therapies, personality theory, and Relational-Cultural Theory.
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