OC12: Embrace Diversity

Prior to the opening session at the Orange Conference last night, Reggie Joiner (and team) revealed a few simple facts by highlighting the most diverse zip code in the US.

Zip 98118 in Seattle, WA is a 6 square mile area that accounts for 40,000 people, 59 languages and 60 nationalities.

In effect, the message was clear: more communities are becoming diverse / more people want to live in diverse communities.

In fact, 25% want to live in a culture that is diverse, while 60% don’t want to live in one that’s diverse.

Worship on Wednesday night at #OC12

As a father to multi-racial children (Dutch, Spanish, Filipino, Black = yes, we are the world, indeed!), this topic was one that piqued my interest. How do I (someone who is “white” [I say that because my appearance looks like that even though my mom is Dutch and my dad is Spanish]) communicate diversity and tolerance to my children?

Stats show that people are embracing diversity and rejecting those who show signs of intolerance. How do I align with a church (or my church, rather) that embraces all peoples of all different backgrounds?

What does “embracing diversity” look like? How do I do that in an almost 90%-white suburb of ATL? How do I do that in a multi-racial family/household?

In the end, no matter where my family “lives”, I want this message clearly and effectively communicated to my children. I want them to experience different cultures, cherish their heritage, and accept people simply because they are human.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)

Simple enough. When we get granular, we are all broken people in need of a Savior. No matter our color, background, family history, income, political stance, etc, etc, etc. All of us, yes all of us, are called to embrace people. Because that’s what Jesus did.

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How can you ’embrace diversity’ in your own life/community?

14 Comments

  • bill (cycleguy)

    April 26, 2012

    We have a large Mexican culture here in small town, USA. We have several who are part of our church, but I would love to have more of an outreach to them. Hopefully, when we get a bit more space (starts happening this Sunday) we can get more creative in our outreach. I commend you and Jenn Dustin.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 26, 2012

      thanks bill – for us, we have open conversations about living in a culturally diverse area… but as i think about it a little more i want to remember that it’s also making that important in our family unit as well (not forgetting/discounting my kids’ heritage… grandparents’ languages… where they came from, etc) and exposing them at a young age to people who are “different” than what they see everyday.

      Reply
  • Matt Cannon

    April 26, 2012

    By teaching my children and others in word and deed. We live in a very un-diverse area, but there are still ample opportunities. I must have my eyes open and take the opportunities as much as I can.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 26, 2012

      showing by example, for sure. we’re in a similar place (where we live) and have to, sometimes, be intentional about putting them into situations that are “diverse”.

      Reply
  • Jon

    April 26, 2012

    Great post, man! Diversity is important, and I love exploring and hearing about other people’s backgrounds/roots. I think the key thing, is to be open, and not be afraid to share who you are.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 26, 2012

      “not afraid to share who you are” – absolutely.

      Reply
  • Jason Vana

    April 26, 2012

    I think the key to celebrating diversity is to really love people – not for what their background is or where they come from, but for who they are. When we really love people, we will want to celebrate and embrace who they are and where they come from.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 26, 2012

      that’s the thing – when you break it down, and get to the core, that’s it –> we are all people.

      Reply
  • Rusty Lopez

    April 26, 2012

    Hey Dustin, I didn’t know your dad is Spanish!

    Reply
  • ThatGuyKC

    April 26, 2012

    Hey! 98118 is near my neck of the woods. Seattle is pretty diverse.

    I’m about as white as they come (English, French, German, Irish and Canadian) so most of the time I face the opposite stereotype of being seen as the racist, sexist white guy.

    Sometimes I wish I was anything but caucasian because often I don’t feel like I have a “culture”.

    I like that you brought it down to the basic level. We are all broken people. We are all fallen humans in need of a Savior. Red and yellow, black and white.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      May 4, 2012

      Truth be told, I thought of you when I heard about the zip code… don’t know of many people out in the Seattle area – other than you and Keri.

      Reply
  • Moe

    April 27, 2012

    So many people are threatened by difference. Diversity shouldn’t be a threat but a gift from our God. Diversity speaks of a God who loves to paint with different brushes. He’s still a great artist and His work is still beauty… regardless of what brush He uses.

    *though some may argue that diversity came as a result of sin (tower of babel). Haven’t really looked deep into this, so I can’t say much about that. I still think it’s a gift to us.

    ** more diverse than NYC? I need to see sources. :)

    Reply
    • Dustin

      May 4, 2012

      not “a threat but a gift” – i like that a lot.

      Reply
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