Whatever “Multicultural” Is

I have the feeling — ok, more than a feeling — that churches and schools mean very different things when they use the word “multicultural”.

Governments and schools use the term to refer to a stifling postmodernist ulcer (excuse the mixed metaphor), one where value judgements about cultures, or even specific aspects of them, is strictly verboten. It is this, not diversity, that I hate. God forbid that I should think diversity a terrible thing.

Churches mean the reality of church unity across lines that other institutions would draw between genders, “races”, ethnicities and classes.

The one says no one has the truth any more than any other. The other says the truth has set us free and now has us, informs us and transforms us.

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2 responses to “Whatever “Multicultural” Is

  1. I agree with you on this, with one added nuance. In some cases, such as within a local congregation, diversity may not be an ideal to pursue. For example, when a local congregation seeks to reaffirm its confession of faith or some other aspect of the relevant tradition, the ideal is actually the elimination of diversity with respect to that which is being specifically reaffirmed.

    I think there are a host of issues related to this that should be considered by any Christians who are involved with education. I’m thinking specifically of Christian education. One of the most important issues has to do with the choice between a so-called “interdenominational” or “transdenominational” approach versus a parochial approach. If you’ve ever considered those issues, I’d be curious to know what you think.

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  2. »the ideal is actually the elimination of diversity with respect to that which is being specifically reaffirmed.«

    I’m pretty sure it’s true of the clergy, but how true is it of the laity?

    »If you’ve ever considered those issues, I’d be curious to know what you think.«

    But I haven’t really.

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