What diversity means to me and why it is important
What’s up guys!
Today, I wanted to talk about diversity with you because it is such a hot topic right now in a lot of conversations amongst the community on and off-campus. So I just wanted to bring you into this space of discussion on diversity and the importance of value in culture. I want to then cover how Biola works to carry out the vision of biblical, academic, and cultural integration and how we cultivate that goal well through events, classes, panels, and conferences to bring awareness to the learners and leaders of the student body.
By definition, diversity literally means, “the state of being diverse; having variety.” I think it’s so valuable to embrace our differences because that’s how God designed us. We are learners and followers of Christ who carry out his commands to love Him and love others well. I think diversity is so important to me because when we look at today’s cultural activity, there is a lot of noise and an overwhelming outpour of information. As it appears, many aren’t open to learning and sitting down to have those hard conversations and those discussions that really stretch your own way of thinking to be sensitive to another’s beliefs. Openness occurs eventually if not at first, trust and learning takes time. Open communication is honest, true, and comfortable. We must become a culture that is better at having those conversations.
Diversity is embracing our differences as beauty and not as a contest. There is a lot of comparison in culture nowadays and that can be brought to you by social media. I know that I am guilty of this too. I am guilty of comparing myself to others even though I know that “I am beautifully and wonderfully made.” These thoughts of not being good enough don’t come from God but comes from the enemy. Diversity and culture can come from how we look, how we talk, how we were raised, what life experience we have, etc. Embracing what makes us, us is what we must really strive for as Christians looking to make an impact on others: using what has been given to us and thinking of it as a gift, not a mistake. I am blessed to be Hawaiian/Mexican and I personally love culture and learning about cultural groups other than my own because there is that cross-cultural engagement that Jesus wants us to be seeking after. A goal I focus on daily is being more kingdom-minded in everything I say and do: to love on my fellow brothers and sisters, as they too are made in the image of God as I am. All of us are called to community and fellowship to celebrate the great gifts and differences our Lord and Savior have blessed us with.
We want to ensure that we are building bridges in the community so that reciprocated learning occurs. I read somewhere that when learning about the culture, it’s like piecing together a puzzle. You could have all of the pieces of the puzzle all out on the table, but not know where all of the pieces go. It takes practice to be sensitive to other’s beliefs, mannerisms, practices, habits, and tendencies. It’s not as cut and dry as people may think. Racism, hate, bigotry, all of it must go for the betterment of the kingdom. I know that I am beautiful because I know that I am held in the hands of the father who “intricately designed me,” making me set apart. Everything about me represents an image of God because of the Lord’s intentional design. There’s a limitation in place, however: while I am like God and represent Him, I am not identical to God. God sees our hearts, so why should we do any different? We must come together because we are designed to be relational. I want to encourage you to seek after those conversations, learn through tough times, and be sensitive to walking a mile in another person’s shoes. It not only will give you perspective but it will also be enlightening! I love culture and believe we are called to be in fellowship cross-culturally. The impact missions have had on my perception of culture and the world has grown to be a soul on fire for diversity especially in a cultivated community. We have to be what we want to see in the generation we live in: culture creators and community cultivators.
What does the Bible say about diversity?
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”- Revelation 7:9-12
- Every people group of every tribe, every nation, of every language will stand before the throne of Jesus. There will be a glorious celebration! So why wouldn’t we celebrate the diversity we have now? This is how we can be more kingdom-minded.
“For by him, all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.”
- Colossians 1:16-17
- We are created through him and for him. We are created to fulfill a calling, on God’s timing. We have no reason to worry about tomorrow. We are created by a divine being and we depend on him. All things are created through him, and for him. He goes before us and sees all his children as beautiful.
“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” - 1 Corinthians 4:26
- We are called to build each other up because we are called to love, called to motivate, and called to make change happen. Building up my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is what I am looking towards. God has called us to love and as iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
“I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” - Ephesians 4:1-6
Keep getting after it friends. God is good all of the time and he sees you as his beautiful children. Don’t forget how much we depend on our creator because we are nothing without him. Love you guys!