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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Intentionality

Next in our series about reconciled worship, please welcome guest blogger April Sunami. April is a wonderful mother and artist. Check out her work

Check out more of April's artwork
I clearly recall looking up at the praise team, which consisted of a racially mixed group. The congregation was dotted and intertwined with the well heeled, the downtrodden and the folks somewhere in between. This place, which would become my church home for the next eight years, was a long cry from any place I’d ever seen (See post: Church for All People).

However na├»ve it may sound, I thought that our congregation was multi-racial and socio-economically diverse in a completely organic and naturally occurring way. In fact it was quite the opposite. I’ve since learned that it is no coincidence that the musicians were multi-racial or there were multi-ethnic images of Christ on the slide projector.


These days I am one of the folks who select the images for the worship service. It is a wonderful challenge to find pictures that reflect our faith community in addition to providing context to the liturgy. Along the way I’ve learned these three simple things:

1. Diversity is intentional- it is a conscious and deliberate choice. I never gave much thought to the term “intentionality” when it came to diversity in my church, but we all choose where we worship and whom we have relationships with.  

2. Diversity is hard work. Finding commonalities is the way people naturally socialize, so it is no surprise that we all naturally segregate ourselves through race, social background, etc. Yes, we are all one body in Christ and obviously Christians have the common ground of believing in Christ, but unfortunately many of us still carry the baggage of fraternizing only with those who look, dress and talk like ourselves. It takes extra effort to engage and have a meaningful relationship with someone outside of your comfort zone.


3. Intentional representation is a small but important way to encourage diversity. The subtext of having images representing various races, ages, genders, and backgrounds says to the viewer “you are a welcome, relevant, and vital part of this community.”

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By Their Strange Fruit by Katelin H is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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