Friday, May 4, 2007

Celebrate what's unique -- as long as it's not you.

Having just returned from a family vacation on Arizona, I was awestruck by the beauty of the southwest (not to mention the Grand Canyon itself). While I am not a 'world traveller' per se, the vast diversity across geographies never ceases to be a source of amazement.

From the lush rolling green hills of Ireland, to the plains of northern Texas, to the stone-walls of colonial Connecticut, we as people can appreciate diversity in nature. We sometimes pay big money to experience new things. And I admit (even despite a rainy spring) I love diversity in the weather, too.

All around us, we celebrate God's creativity -- and how it manifests itself in so many ways around us. As John McCain said in last night's debate, "when I hike the grand canyon and see the sunset, I also see the hand of God."

Why is it then, this same diversity that we adore in the world around us is the very thing that pulls us apart as a people. We can appreciate uniqueness in everything, except others. We surround ourselves with people who look, think and act like us -- and are distrustful of outsiders. 'I've never seen a sky like that, how cool... did you see the color of that fish, amazing... uh oh, he looks different from me - I'd better be careful.'

In the book of Colossians, Paul writes 'Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.' So then... how many of us self-proclaimed Christians look at people from different cultures and backgrounds -- perhaps a young Iraqi who finds himself caught up in Al-Qaeda -- and say "I also see the hand of God". Perhaps we need to take a closer look.

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