Strength in diversity
It’s sometimes said that the diversity within the Uniting Church is both its biggest strength and biggest weakness. Wikipedia describes the theological perspectives in the Uniting Church as “broad”, going on to list them as “evangelical, fundamentalist, mainline, progressive and liberal”—wow! That’s not to mention the rich cultural and ethnic diversity of the church, which is increasing every year as our demographics shift.
A few months ago I printed out a tweet and stuck it to my desk at work. It reads:
“Accessibility in media is important because media is meant to bridge ideas between different kinds of people. Niche pandering doesn’t do it.”
It resonates not only with what I believe about media, but also the church.
Staying in your niche is comfortable. Our friends probably agree with us on most issues, and we all have our favourite news outlet which informs and confirms our own political slant. Breaking out and getting a fresh perspective is hard to do. It can be alarming and challenging. Being accessible means sometimes folk you find undesirable get in, but we are a body comprised of many different parts.
At Synod (page nine) during the Open Space sessions I experienced a meeting of the many different parts of the Uniting Church exchanging ideas about our future. It was exciting to see the cross-pollination between people of differing cultural, theological and political viewpoints.
In the same way, our cover story (page six) talks about interfaith friendships between Christians and Muslims. The differences we find can be challenging, but they are also illuminating and enriching.
It indicates to me that diversity is much more of a strength than a weakness.
We have a lot to offer each other.