In my last blog I talked about what diversity is. I asked, “What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘diversity’?”, suggesting anything from gender equality to ethnic diversification. We looked at how diversity relates to perspective, courage, and reconciliation. Then we considered how diversity is not tokenism, patronization, or sameness.
For some who read my last blog, your perspective was challenged and you stormed off angrily, perhaps feeling attacked in your prejudice. For others, your perspective was challenged and you hungered for greater diversity. Whichever reader you were, you are welcome here. This blog further explores diversity and steps we can take to diversify our friendships and circles of influence.
I struggled to write this blog, my sisters. I grew up perceiving a world free of prejudice. I was raised on the mission field in Central Asia, surrounded by people who looked different, talked different, acted different, and believed different from me. Because of this, diversity and differences don’t intimidate me. Disagreeing with someone or being opposite of someone doesn’t make me want to run and hide…it makes me want to figure out why they are the way they are. Is this worldview relatable to you, reader, or does it sound as if I am practically speaking a different language than your own?
Maybe diversification is deeply foreign to you. Maybe you were raised in rural America, where racism teemed deep in the hearts of your family and home church. Perhaps you were old enough to understand what happened on September 11, 2001, and it shaped how you view Muslims. Or maybe you were raised in an abusive household, and your perception of men and feminism is tainted.
Regardless, I want to offer three beneficial steps toward diversification, no matter the prejudices you might secretly harbor. Before jumping into them, I can’t help but encourage you to go back and read or re-read my last blog. These three steps can only be understood in light of the “what”, and inadvertently the “why” of diversification addressed in that piece.
That being said, here are some tips for diversification.
1. Be honest with yourself.
What do you fear? What do you hate? If the answer to either of those questions includes a person or people group of any kind…you’ve got a prejudice on your hands. Prejudice is the most powerful douser of the flame of diversity. You cannot harbor both. You must be honest with yourself regarding where you stand on diversity. Do you only befriend people who look like you? If so, why is that? Do you and your friends ever disagree? If not, you might have too much unhealthy sameness. Be honest with yourself.
2. Expand your table.
What does your city look like? That’s what your dinner tables should reflect. Are there homeless people? Is there a mosque down the street? What is the homosexual population like? What other races or ethnicities are there? Now examine your dinner table. Who sits there with you regularly? Who do you “entertain”? If your dinner guests don’t reflect the climate of the city in which you live, you are not reaching the diversity your city or town provides. Explore your city and expand your table.
3. Realize the truth of Eternity.
Did you know, whether you like it or not, we’re going to be outstandingly diverse in Heaven? Scripture tells us that we will retain our ethnicity and language at the end of time (Rev. 7). We will even utilize our God-given languages and, with our tribes sing out, “Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” When we realize this truth of Eternity, and if we are in tune with the Holy Spirit and are seeking God’s Kingdom above our own, the desire for diversification should pour out of our souls. We need only see Scripture in its trueness and its inerrancy.
These are not “tricks” or “short-cuts” to diversification. These are simply helpful tips to inspire and provoke you. The effort and initiative fall into each of our hands.
Each of us must ask ourselves some hard questions. What will I do now? Will I store this knowledge up and quiver back in fear as the world rips itself apart with prejudice and hate? Will I build my own kingdom as God’s sovereignty deconstructs it? Will I fake ignorance and remain in my unhealthy, undiversified sameness? I pray not. For Heaven’s sake, I pray not.
Meet the Author!
Hannah Hanzel is an opinionated, passionate gal that loves sharing what God is doing in her often busy and complicated life. She strives to show God's glory in working as the Art Director for the Baptist Messenger, serving as a multi-client freelance graphic designer, and communing with CRBC. When she's not working, you can find her sipping coffee in a hammock, watching classic '40s movies, or going on an adventure with friends or family.