Living in a Multi World

Have you ever found yourself longing for a simpler time?

The other day I was at our local grocery store looking for cereal.  Do you have any idea how many different kinds of cereals there are?  I panicked, texted my wife explaining that it was not possible for me to make a decision and she could find me in the magazine aisle when it was time to go.

I only remember three cereal options from my childhood – Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies and Fruit Loops.

This past Sunday we attended our youngest son’s end of season tennis banquet.  As soon as we entered the room, my wife and I were sent to the “parents” table.  Before long we were sucked into a typical parent conversation about college.

One parent mentioned that their son had applied to over 30 schools.  They were now in the process of visiting all of the schools.  Prior to this incident I assumed I was being progressive by just hoping each boy would apply to three or four colleges.

I only remember filling out one college application.  My discernment process was simple; it needed to be at least 1000 miles from home.

 I am not sure if the good-old-days ever existed, but it is nice to think that they did.

We live in a world that can be described as “multi.” 

I travel a lot.  I get to visit multiple cities.  I meet with church leaders from multiple denominational and non-denominational back grounds.  I have the privilege of attending multi-ethnic gatherings.  I have been at meetings where multiple theological perspectives have a voice.

It is always fascinating to sit around a table discussing an important theological issue with a diversity of people.  Finding unity can be extremely illusive when things like language, ethnic background, gender, denominational tradition, what region of the country or world you come from, and theology are varied.

Sometimes I wonder what God was thinking by making us all so different.

When wildly different people are brought together to discuss anything clear communication and understanding quickly become difficult.  Just because I think that I am being crystal clear has nothing to do with how the message is received.  In these situations just agreeing on where to go for lunch should be viewed as a victory.

I communicate in English from a white male North American perspective.  If the person listening to me is a female for who English is a second or third language and she has recently moved to the USA, my clarity in communicating may only be clarity in my mind.

Living in a multi world requires grace, lots of grace.  It needs to be a grace that flows from every direction.  Just because you feel offended and misunderstood does not immediately imply that the person who committed the offense intended to offend.

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Filed under Christian, culture, diversity, grace, ministry, multicultural, urban ministry

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