Is segregation a bad thing? Now, I’m not talking unwillful segregation along ethnic, cultural, or religious lines to the point of removing peoples right to equal and fair products. This is more about ideas and points of view than skin color or history. For several months now I’ve been working with a team that is planning a large youth rally. The team is made up of youth leaders from the traditional evangelical churches and the African American congregations in an effort to bring the ministries and youth together. A fantastic and noble goal to which I was honored to be part of.
Our first meetings were exciting, sharing ideas and brainstorming from our different experiences created a mutual atmosphere of respect for the work that each person did in ministry. Then as we turned our attention from the broad outline to sorting out the details it became less comfortable. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up the moment I heard “we need to make sure that the culture of each group is represented appropriately”. Up until that moment the thought had never crossed my mind of one group dominating over another.
Every meeting thereafter I approached cautiously, politically making sure I didn’t come across as insensitive. Where I normally throw myself into a project with reckless abandon I now found myself tip-toeing.
Ever since the emergence of contemporary worship, churches have struggled with creating a “blended” worship. They don’t want to fracture their church family by making people choose between the organ or the drum kit. It almost always feels awkward when you combine the two because someone is always left feeling unfulfilled. Louie Giglio said it best, “Do you know what you get with a blended worship? Worship where no one is happy.”
Why is it that we have come to a point in society where we have to make everything so politically correct that no one is happy?
Why must we try to please everyone with one fell swoop? There are different churches, restaurants, schools, etc. for every culture and personality because that’s what’s comfortable and pleasant to individuals who seek to be in them. You don’t make football players practice with the soccer team and you don’t go to Olive Garden expecting to order a burger.
While in undergrad, the seminary department on campus decided to begin a Jewish service once a month complete with readings from the Torah and Psalms in Hebrew. It quickly grew in popularity to where you needed to be there 45 minutes early just to get a seat. It was unique and genuine, not watered down trying to be hip; and because of that it felt special.
I prefer to appreciate other cultures unadulterated. I love the experience of Hispanic or African American cultures when they are permitted to be all they are. The sights, sounds, and flavors of another culture give me an opportunity to appreciate all that makes them unique and special. And for those cultures to flourish, they band together in “Little Italy” or “Little China”. Like minds go together. You don’t see Kenye West touring with Green Day to make sure that they are being culturally inclusive. Blending it altogether is great for peace and equality, but you almost always wind up with a bunch of people standing around not knowing what to do or say.