How do you think you would feel if you opened that brand-new, super-size box of Crayons to find that every last one of them were exactly the same color? Would it even matter WHAT color they were, if every one were the same? Not entirely useless, but certainly far from maximum utility, don’t you think? What you need is difference, not uniformity; the more difference, the more you can accomplish. Isn’t that why you bought the super-size box?
As an undergraduate student of Terrestrial Ecology, I studied forests and fields, ponds and lakes. We surveyed the total number of animals and plants in each eco-system and also counted the number of different species. A cold mountain stream might have fewer total number of plants and animals, but a much larger number of different species. A hog pond with an algae bloom killing the pigs in the field would have so many individual algae plants, but almost all of them would be of one species. One environment with lots of numbers of plants but very little diversity, the other environment with fewer individuals but much more diversity of species. Do I have to tell you which one was the healthier eco-system? The greater the diversity of different species, the healthier the system.
Lots of congregations talk about their need to grow, but when someone shows up who doesn’t look exactly like the ones already inside, they throw up the barriers. Crying for growth but refusing to accept any diversity is a recipe which guarantees death. And it is as much against the teachings of Jesus as anything you can imagine.
If a healthy church is what you want, seek out diversity; diversity of every kind. The United Church of Christ carries the motto “That They May All Be One.” We work hard to seek unity, but not uniformity. We work towards accepting and celebrating diversity among those we welcome into our community. We understand that the greater our diversity, the stronger and healthier a Church we will be. Let us give thanks for the multitude of diversity God has woven into human beings. Let everyone who will come in and find within our diversity our unity in God through Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God.