03 February 2014

Cherish Diversity

I did not watch the Super Bowl but today I gathered two chief highlights:

A. The Denver Broncos were as dominant as a pack of incontinent gerbils.


B. The ad by Coca-Cola elicited some very strong reactions.

I suppose it is safe to say I never would have predicted either of these two things.

That made me wonder: “Huh?” Especially with “letter B” above.

Granted, English is considered by many to be the official* language here. But the America we live in is composed of people from many, many, many, many….many nations—speaking many, many, many, many different languages.

This is good—it is rare and precious.

Language is playful and creative. It is a doorway into a vast array of cultures. This diversity should be celebrated, cherished and nurtured.

I live in a neighborhood that is one of the most diverse in America. On any given day, as I look out the window to the sidewalk in front of my house, it is not uncommon to see people from various countries, representing diverse ethnic groupings, religions and languages. Muslims, Jews and Catholics, spanning from the Middle East to South America, live in our neighborhood. We hear Arabic, Polish, Swedish, Hebrew, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, German, Tagalog, French and Swahili spoken here. There is a hookah bar nearby and a taquería on Lawrence Avenue. On that same street, just a short walk away, you can get the best sushi in Chicago. Walk a little farther if you want some nice Italian pizza or Korean barbecue.
Language is intimately tied to culture. Americans of all colors and ethnic backgrounds should be eager to take advantage of the proximate diversity we enjoy—or should enjoy. As someone who served as a pastor of churches made up of people from different countries I can personally attest that rubbing shoulders with people who are unlike oneself is one of the most rewarding and enriching things you can ever do.

Rather than insisting on conformity, we should be champions of diversity. God made the world rich with the vibrant textures of culture and language. No one people group has a monopoly on truth and beauty. We have much to learn from one another. Together, the world’s people form a tapestry that is able to inspire awe, reverence and worship—if we let it.   PlayFull’s prayer is: let it be.


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*A good friend pointed out that America has no "official" language per se.


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