I have rarely written on diversity, multi-cultural ministry. It is rarely discussed at Life Pointe other than each of us poking fun at one another for our cultural foibles. I probably need to though.
As the church grows culture clashes are bound to happen. They do not arise out of anger or counter-productive arguments. But, they do arise because we all have pasts, backgrounds, norms, and experiences that shape who we are.
I believe Life Pointe has blended so well and really has no dominant culture because it is not the priority. We are not a black church, white, church , latin church, Jamaican church. We are simply a church. In fact, very few people walk into the theater with cultural agendas and stay around for any amount of time without a perspective change.
At the same time, we have to understand who we are. We have to know that we have cultural habits that can be a barrier to receiving other cultures. In my last post, I referenced the cultural norms of a Haitian funeral. But, also consider the cultural tendency of some of us to be late to our gatherings. Or, what about the latin air kisses that fly around the theater in a flurry every Sunday? Or, what about the tendency of our white yankee transplants to clap on all the wrong beats?! I could go on all day. I simply love the fact that we are all unique.
One thing we do not do is bring our cultural expectations over to the rest of our church family and expect that every other culture conforms to ours. The priority of the culture is second to the our love for one another. And, the priority of the culture is second to the priority of the Gospel. I have a challenge for you. Look at the spiritual behaviors you have or expect. How many of those spiritual behaviors are learned behaviors? How many of those learned spiritual behaviors find their roots in Scripture? How many find their roots in culture?
It is food for thought. It is also a challenge going forward for each of us to position ourselves in such a way that our culture does not become an unnecessary barrier to Kingdom Growth. If we conform ourselves to Christ and love our neighbor, people will look at us and know us not for our cultural identity. They will know us for our love for one another (John 13:34-35).