I read of a linguist who translated a portion of the Bible into a tribal dialect and then left a man with the task of teaching the people to read. The linguist returned months later to find three students and the teacher seated around a table dilengently learning. Each was reading, but the page with the translated text was never moved. And so,one had learned to read the text sideways. Another also read it sideways, but from the other side. And a third read it upside down. You see, they always sat in the same chairs. And each, from their own particular vantagepoint, thought the text was written one way.
It’s so easy to see something from only point of view. We may even think it’s the only valid viewpoint.
Is there room for diversity? Is there room for discussion and change? How many are willing to rethink and reconsider?
Sometimes it’s a good idea to simply change seats.
Let us never forget that diversity is God’s idea. This was brought home to me as I read an email this past week from my close friend and brother Tommy Drinnen, who is completing his PhD in Spiritual Formation in California. Tommy wrote:
My class this semester is made up of a Cuban, a Ethiopian, someone from China, Korea, and Indonesia, and then, me – a Tennessean transplanted from Ghana. Our professor is a Korean man. Last week I ate at the home of a couple from our program who are Korean and Chinese. I also had a meal with a Kenyan and a man from Rwanda. I live in a rural community in Ghana, and I tell you that meeting all these people and hearing and seeing their stories of faith has an impact on one’s worldview and one’s Kingdom view. It is a blessing to be able to meet so many people from around the world.
And so, I find myself agreeing with Mark Twain who wrote, “Travel is the enemy of prejudice.” Move around enough, see and visit enough people who are very different from yourself, and over time, rigid, inflexible, prejudicial views will be diluted by the creative diversity that exists in this massive, wonderful world.