Diversity and equality have been hot topics in the last decade of American life. We’re in the midst of various shifts in our culture surrounding these concepts, especially in relation to ethnicity and gender, and some of these shifts are good. When my family lived in southern California, we were ethnically not in the majority in our neighborhood, and we appreciated it greatly. Our church was home to people from dozens of ethnic backgrounds, and we loved that even more.
When I was a kid, we sang a sweet song that went Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world. Years later, I saw a different take on that song designed to point out our tendency to be ethnocentric. They edited the words to White and white and white and white, they are precious in His sight… And the point was proven. Sometimes, even passively or subconsciously, we hug the gospel to ourselves and never venture beyond the comfort zone of other people who look like us to share the good news.
What have we done, and why would we do it? That’s the pair of questions that kept going through my mind as I sat in a theater in Rogers, Arkansas last night as we watched Lee Daniels’ The Butler. The synopsis is:
Everybody belongs. When we say everybody, we mean every color, every shape, every personality, and people with every kind of story imaginable. Everyone belongs, even before they believe.