Yesterday I met a lady who reminded me how I love that church brings together all kinds of human beings who would never go to the same parties. That’s also what I believe The Kingdom of Heaven looks like.
This woman was colorful. In the course of 20 minutes I learned about her unusual bones, her interesting employment history, and her assortment of allergies. It was a privilege to hang out with her.
The marks of a healthy church often involve color:
- Colorful characters who are beloved and respected for being exactly who they are.
- Color commentary on Scripture that tinges our perspective on the world and makes us want to be the people we were created to be.
- People with different skin colors who – chances are – also have had different experiences from our own, thus broadening our horizons and getting us out of our own little lives.
What I see, though, too often are:
- Churches that ostracize colorful characters and hope they’ll go away.
- Preaching that upholds a black and white view of the world, or such a gray view of the world that nothing means anything.
- Racial segregation.
Maybe you saw this article last week about segregated pews. What does it mean that our congregations remain racially segregated for the most part?
Yes, some of our communities have absolutely no people of color living within miles and some communities have absolutely no white people within their city limits. But most of our communities are in fact more diverse than our churches. We just don’t share the same (fill in the blank: style of worship, theology, culture, socioeconomic class.) Some of our congregations work hard to have “sister churches” that are different from our own. But it’s one thing to share a mission project or two and it’s another thing to know about someone’s allergies and employment history.
We need more color – in every way. I believe that the God who created every gorgeous hue requires this of us and relishes in it.
Image source. Also: Go see Selma today.