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Monday, March 21, 2005

Churches: Separate but Equal?

I have noticed a trend over the past few years for churches, particularly conservative evangelical churches, to not only embrace diversity but make it a central goal of the church. By diversity, I don't simply mean racial diversity. I have heard churches talk about reaching out to the dissaffected, the tattooed-and-pierced crowd, artists, Hispanic families, young families with kids, Baby Boomers, etc.

This of course is niche marketing. While the Church should certainly be a place open to all, I am a little disturbed by one aspect of this increased diversity. In many instances, this diversity is taking the form of separate church congregations or groups within a church. So while a church may start becoming more diverse as a whole, these separate groups are not having substantial interaction and community.

Is this really the diversity that we should see in the body of Christ? I think not. True diversity and love would involve white-bread families with kids leaving their corporate-snobbery at the door to spend time with the singles with dreads and nose rings in the church. It would involve the artist crowd leaving their cool-indie-snobbery at the door to have a meal with a suburban family. It would involve the upper-class empty nesters having coffee with the African-American single mom.

Aren't we to be known by our love?

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