Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Diversity in the Church: can you handle it?

"L'enfer, c'est les autres" (Satre- not the nicest man)

Can you handle the diversity in your family? Even those people sharing DNA and environment in a family will be different from each other- there will be the black sheep, the artsy one, the athlete, crazy Aunt Martha, grumpy Great-Grandpa, the quiet one, the trouble-maker, the irritating one with some family members being combinations of various categories.

The Church is a family- bound by the sacraments instead of blood, and it is just as diverse as any family. Because the Church is made up of people, it will never be a perfect church-going experience. There will be tone-deaf people who insist on singing really loudly. The priest- yes, he is a family member too- might be a little too human and obsessed with his golf game. There will be people from different ethnic, economic, educational and even religious backgrounds- can you handle it? There will be people there dealing with divorce, abuse, addiction, even mental illness- can you handle it? Tolerance and acceptance of the diversity in any group larger than one person doesn't mean that we have to accept bad behavior, but like in any loving family, we must love everything about our fellow Church family members except sin.


11 comments:

  1. except swedes and norwegians would NEVER share a church...

    (just sayin'. it's usually norwegians and their german-lutheran wives.)

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  2. Good point... Hard to live out though...

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  3. I will have to send you an email to tell you my story about my Church's family members. It isn't pretty.

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    1. sounds intriguing...let's pray for them!

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  4. So funny, I just wrote a post about this! I was trying to explain how God calls us to embrace the flaws of our neighbors, not to run from them or look down on others. We need to be a lot more introspective in our Christian lives. I love being part of a small parish because it really forces us to be a family. We open ourselves up a lot more than in a large anonymous church, so it can be much harder to bear the flaws of our fellow parishioners. But we must, if we want to grow in our Christian life!

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    1. yes- a big church makes it possible to get away from those who annoy us- in our small church it is impossible to get away...maybe people are annoyed with me ;)

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  5. GK Chesterton once said, "The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people." So true!
    Its definitely easier to love people you've never met, because once you meet them you start to find things like singing off key that can get under your skin. Christian love is never easy.

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    1. I just love GKC- he is so wise (but also funny- a rare combination)

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  6. PW--it's NOT you. I wish we lived closer to you; I'd LOVE to have (what I consider to be) a great example of a woman of faith. At the parishes we attend...crickets...

    ACM is right...that's why we never know someone's true self until we live with them--roommates, friends, spouses!!! :)

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