Diversity Protected

Unity and Diversity

Diversity Protected
Monday, June 3, 2019

White dominant culture has been alive and well for centuries, and its grasp for power is only growing more desperate. Today we see unabashed racism, classism, and sexism at the highest levels of the United States government. How naïve many of us white folks were to think we lived in a post-racial society after the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s and after we saw an African American president and his family in the White House. Now our collective shadow has again come out in the open for all to see.

It seems every generation must be newly converted. While we seek to transform individual hearts and minds we must also work to create change throughout systems. Until a full vision of equity is realized, we must continue naming and resisting the ways in which so many people are excluded and oppressed. Author and activist adrienne maree brown writes:

Separation weakens. It is the main way we are kept (and keep each other) in conditions of oppression. . . . Where we are born into privilege, we are charged with dismantling any myth of supremacy. Where we are born into struggle, we are charged with claiming our dignity, joy and liberation. . . . From that deep place of belonging to ourselves, we can understand that we are inherently worthy of each other. Even when we make mistakes, harm each other, lose our way, we are worthy. [1]

I believe the problem of otherness and separation is so foundational to all of reality that it had to be overcome in the very nature of God—from the very beginning—and in all things created in the image of God, which is exactly all things. God has to include otherness—diversity, if you will—but God also has to be diversity overcome and resolved, first inside of the Deity Itself (the Trinity), and then in all those created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27), who are imprinted, marked, and “turned into the image that they reflect” (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).

The members of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—are the Christian placeholder names for clear distinction, pluriformity, and otherness. You can use other words if you want; what’s important is distinction and diversity in loving relationship. The three must be maintained as three and understood as different from one another. Yet the infinite trust and flow between them is so constant, so reliable, so true, and so faithful that they are also completely one. They must be diverse, and they must be one—at the same time. The glue that preserves both truths at the same time is Infinite Love.

Our basic human problem of unity and diversity has been resolved in the very nature of God, but unless we allow ourselves inside of that Infinite flow, we ourselves will always remain the three but never the one. If we remain exclusive monotheists, like Judaism, Islam, and much of Christianity up to now, we normally try to impose a false uniformity on others but rarely know how to love, honor, and respect diversity. We remain in competing tribes and colonies.

Like the Godself, we must be both “three and one,” different and united: diversity affirmed, protected, and overcome by One Shared Love. Even the very basic element of the atom appears to mirror such cyclical diversity, attraction, and allurement—within itself.

References:
[1] Adrienne Maree Brown, “Report: Recommendations for Us Right Now from a Future,” Sublevel, issue 2 (2018), https://sublevelmag.com/issues/the-speculative/report-recommendations-for-us-right-now-from-a-future.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Introduction,” “Unity and Diversity,” Oneing, vol. 6, no. 2 (CAC Publishing: 2018), 14-15.

Image credit: Pure Diversity (detail), Mirta Toledo, 1993. Art Collection of TCU University, Fort Worth, Texas, USA.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: People can meet God within their cultural context but in order to follow God, they must cross into other cultures because that’s what Jesus did in the incarnation itself. —Christena Cleveland
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