gail song bantum

blog on identity, leadership, discipleship

homogenous or diverse? that is the question

i am wondering to what extent should the church be deliberate in its attempts to be non-homogenous. could it be a detriment to one’s worship life to be in such homogenized communities? how would this affect one’s choices and uses of artistic elements within communal worship? if church community is the place where, sociologically proven, one’s tendency is to flock to what is familiar and comfortable, then involvement in worship communities are nothing more than an outward expression of who we understand ourselves to be, e.g., socio-economically, ethnically, culturally, etc. what is at stake in this claim?

what’s at stake is the reality that most people have a hard time imagining sharing moments of intimacy with those who are strange to them. if worship is to be, according to paul, that which draws us closer to god, then it is indeed an intimate moment that we must share with those we worship with. it has to be a life of transparency if we are to believe that transformation is at work in our worship. if worship is the very life that we live out as a declaration and proclamation of god’s grace and love, then those whom we declare with ought to reflect all of the beauty that god engenders. what does this mean? when looking at the life of christ as the one whom we emulate, christ was and is reconciliation. christ embraced the possibility of being scorned as he sat with the samaritan woman and the lepers. what would it look like to have the rich worship with the poor, not just offering money to “help” them but to sit in the same pew and ask for prayer from them? what would it look like for the white to worship with the immigrant who doesn’t speak much english? instead of teaching them english in order that they can better communicate with us, we learn their language in order to better communicate with them. what would it look like to have the highly educated worshipping with the high school dropout? is this not what the kingdom of god ought to look like? perhaps many of our “worship wars” derive and function out of our need for satisfaction over and above our desire to see god manifest in the lives of others? what a truly difficult and convicting question to ponder…..

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