Tuesday, July 19, 2016

On Diversity

One of today's hottest topics is this idea of diversity. All around us, everyone seems to be taking notice of what it is that sets them apart, that makes them special, that demands their attention and the attention of the world.

Sort of.

The truth is that we draw our lines of diversity in too broad of strokes to be meaningful at all. When we talk about diversity today, we're no longer talking about the things that make us unique; we're talking about the things that make us part of one group or another. In other words, we have twisted diversity to no longer mean the things that set us apart. Rather, our idea of diversity has become the things that make us one thing and not the other. 

For us, "diversity" means little more than black or white, gay or straight, male or female, left or right, rich or poor, Christian or atheist, and a whole host of other things that make us one thing or another, but nothing distinct.

What a shame.

It's a shame because we alone are the species that ought to understand what diversity truly is. For all the research we have done on other species, for all the specimens that we have put under our microscopes, we have never found even a hint of the type of diversity anywhere else that humans have in our peoples. No entomologist has ever put an anthill under the scope and seen some vegan ants over here, carnivores over there, facial hair on these specimens while others are clean-shaven, tiny little temples with little ant priests or coffeeshops full of little hipster ants...you get the point. No primatologist has ever uncovered a family of wild gorillas turning social structure on its head, with the matriarch taking on the traditional alpha male role, for example, or with their children choosing their own positions within the community hierarchy. 

You just don't see anywhere else in the animal kingdom the kind of real diversity, and opportunity, that you see in the human species. It's entirely unique. And yet, we have sacrificed this precious diversity on the altar of groupthink. Of all the billions of possibilities that exist in the human species, we have come to the place where our greatest diversity is that thing that makes us like so many other persons around us. 

No wonder it feels like we're all in an identity crisis. No longer we're struggling to figure out who we even are.

No wonder we've lost our value for one another. After all, in this sea of diversity where our lines are so wide, you?...you're a dime a dozen. There are a million other people in this world who are just like you. 

There are a million other people in this world who are black. A million other people who are white. A million other people who are gay. A million other people who are straight. There are millions of other people in this world who are the very thing that you say is what makes you so special, what makes you diverse. So why should I bother? 

I'm not saying this type of diversity isn't real; it certainly is. Anyone can look around and see that these things are true about us as a species. But there are not the things that make you special; these are the kinds of things that make us special. This is not the end-all of your uniqueness; it is the beginning of it. When we look at one another and see all of the amazing possibilities of who each of us could be, possibilities that do not exist anywhere else in all creation, we ought to go searching deeper into our hearts, and into the hearts of our brothers and sisters, and discover what it is that makes each one of us a special creation of God. Not in broad strokes, but in finest detail. 

Because you are not who you are, I am not who I am, because of the color of our skin, the orientation of our affection, the anatomy of our physiology, or any other of these ideas that makes us, as a species, special. You are who you are, I am who I am, because of the unique imprint of God on our very hearts, because of His fingerprint on this masterpiece. 

That's where the heart of diversity lies, in the very heart itself. 

More on this tomorrow.  

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