Driving from London Heathrow airport last night I was intrigued by my host’s comments about the difference between America and Great Britain as it relates to ethnic diversity and racism.
He shared his view that the United States is a melting pot of unique cultures where everyone ultimately hopes to merge into one ingredient, called ‘America’. He went on to say the people of Great Britain never really merge. Like a stew they keep their distinctive ingredients. As an African-American, raised in some very troubled parts of Los Angeles and having ministered as a missionary-pastor here in Great Britain for over thirty years, certainly gives his observation some credibility with me. Whether sociologists on both sides of The Pond would agree, I am not so sure.
However, what my dear friend and fellow pastor said about the two countries made me think of the church around the world. So what is the church? A melting pot where our highest goal is to have us all look and act alike? A stew where we celebrate our unity amidst diversity? I have pondered and pondered and frankly, I see that it is both. Each of us in the Body of Christ is to have as his or her goal to become like Jesus Christ. The Family of God is a melting pot, I suppose. No one person is to stand out so distinctively that he or she takes the attention away from the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, it is also true that each of us in the family of God is a part of a tasty stew, using our distinct gifts and talents to serve the Lord as He uniquely leads each one of us
I have just arrived in England, after five days of gathering in Poland with over 700 evangelical leaders from over 40 different European countries. I am now about to meet here in London with pastors and church leaders, many who are from other countries outside of Europe. Melting pot or stew or both—I am praying that the sweet aroma of our time together will attract many to the Lord who put us in the same pot.
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)