Over the next few weeks, follow this series of posts about WCF’s call to spiritual formation and its importance in our community life together. Catch up on our previous post here.
Celebration of diversity is often touted in our contemporary society. But what exactly does “celebration of diversity” mean? What are we celebrating? And what kind of diversity? For many, it’s celebrating the fact that a particular gathered group reflects a diversity in skin tones, in ethnicities, in socio-economic classes, in ages and/or in languages spoken. At WCF, one of our expressed values is Diversity, which we describe as “Respecting the variety of denominations, backgrounds, traditions, cultures and ages that come together in the body of Christ.”
But how is this value lived out as a community of Jesus followers seeking to be formed in the likeness of Christ for the sake of others?
In light of our goal of spiritual formation in our community, valuing diversity at WCF means more than respecting and tolerating the differences among us. It means more than just celebrating the fact that there are people different from you worshiping next to you. It means more than saying you’re part of a faith community where you get to witness infant baptisms AND child dedications and different styles of music and prayer. Valuing and celebrating diversity at WCF means that the gifts of each of our respective Christian traditions and experiences are seen not only with respect, but with curiosity and with a posture of humble mutual learning.
Celebrating diversity at WCF is lived out in what we call communal curiosity. Communal curiosity suggests that there is something in how my sibling in Christ lives in relationship with and in response to Jesus that I can learn from and incorporate into my relationship with God. Communal curiosity does not rest on “my theology” and “I’ve thought this through already…” Instead, communal curiosity considers how “there’s something about this person’s relationship with God that I can learn from.” Communal curiosity seeks to spend time in the presence of another to observe, to take in and to draw from one another in ways that expand our vision of how God might relate to us and work through God’s people to serve and bless the world.
As we gather together in our worship services, small groups and various gatherings, the elders invite you to come with this posture of communal curiosity. We are not formed in a vacuum. We are formed as we rub shoulders and share stories with other Jesus-followers, especially those that are different from us. The spiritual practices we share are ways that we can do this together. As we encounter Jesus in spiritual practices like prayer, fasting, Sabbath, scripture-reading, silence, solitude, generosity, community and hospitality, we find our own faith and vision of God is expanded. And as a result, we become more like the image of God that we are created to be.
This is the kind of celebration of diversity that we seek to embody here at WCF. It is more than mere respectful tolerance of differences. It is celebrating God’s forming work in our fellow Jesus-apprentices and allowing those differences to form us even more into Christ’s likeness.
Got a question? We’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next post: Spending Time Together