Embracing Diversity Without Killing Truth
I began this series by stating that any effort we make to development leaders for the next generation must be defined by these important features: Digital, Discipleship and Diversity. I have addressed the first two features and will now close out the series by considering the third.
Writing this was not as easy as stating it. My initial thoughts about “diversity” were shaped by statements such as this:
This is the last generation that will be majority white (52%). Between 2000-2010, the country’s Hispanic population grew at four times the rate of the total population. The idea of a black president is not exceptional to them—its normal. Gen Zers have grown up experiencing diversity, and they feel overwhelmingly positive about it. (9 Important Insights about Generation Z)
"The United States is currently undergoing the most rapid demographic shift in its history. By 2050, white Americans will no longer comprise a majority of the population. Instead, they'll be the largest minority group in a country made up entirely of minorities, followed by Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans. Past shifts in America's demographics always reshaped the county's religious landscape.” (Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church, Soong-Chan Rah)
But as I prepared to actually write this post, I found myself struggling to find a singular expression to define what I meant by diversity. I considered talking about racial diversity and how there seems to have been a global awakening to issues of justice. Some would hear diversity and think of human sexuality and call us to be more tolerant and inclusive of alternative lifestyles. Some would think about diversity of opinions and belief systems and call for a less exclusive, more fluid belief systems. Sean McDowell was very accurate in observing that "Formerly distinct lines are now considered 'blurry.’” The reality is that ALL of these perspectives about diversity must be considered when thinking of empowering Digital Natives.
The diversity of perspectives does not mean the death of truth.
In this time of ever-shifting values and the rapid multiplication (and dissemination) of opinions, how do we give the next generation a stable base on which to build their lives? Let me offer a few thoughts, without going into significant detail about any of the points.
The diversity of perspectives does not mean the death of truth. I recently saw this graphic which illustrates this point.
Truth still exists, even though we see life from different angles of experience, education and socialization. We must encourage and exhibit the humility to accept this.
Asking questions and listening will be more critical than ever. "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19).
We must engage the soul AND the mind. Having faith does not require one to leave their brain at the door of the church. Apologetics will become more important than ever.
In the absence of relationship, dialogue turns into diatribe. When there is no relationship to protect, there is less incentive to carefully guard words and fight for effective and healthy communication.
We must teach principles for engaging and deciphering the world, not rules to control it. Rules are reactive with a limited shelf life. Principles stand the test of time. Choose and teach the latter.
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