Diversity

Words are best defined in context, and “diversity” is no exception.

Now, I might not be a fan of everything that has come from the societal, political push toward quote-unquote diversity, but I have to believe that diversity, in its purest form, is a better value than free speech.  On the road recently, I came to Harrison, Arkansas—a few miles from the site of the national HQ of the (reportedly) largest manifestation¹ of the KKK.  It was no surprise, then, when I sighted just south of Harrison a billboard that boldly proclaimed a very un-diverse message:

https://i1.wp.com/www.dailystormer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/diverstiy-is-white-genocide.jpeg

Imagine then my lack of surprise at the “diversity” manifest in the apparently competing billboard less than a mile closer in to town.

DIVERSITY
IS A CODE WORD FOR
SALVATION

I’m not even sure what that means, but it’s clear that there is, or was, a billboard war going on.  At least the sign pictured above has apparently been displayed for more than a year, to the chagrin of most Harrison residents.  Is there racial diversity in and around Harrison?  Sure there is.  Is there a “Christian” (the quote marks here indicate affiliative Christianity, as opposed to the bona fide kind) person in the KKK in Harrison?  I imagine so.  Are there warring factions in the town’s polity?  It seems so.

In our society, racial diversity is frequently connected to justice.  It might even be assumed that a diverse group has enjoyed some measure of justice, or else it would not be diverse.  The matter is of course not that simple, but I can affirm that intentionally just/fair, kind, and dare-I-say merciful treatment of others is involved in a healthy diverse group.  Lately I’ve been confronted—based both on reading and pondering, and also by the words of a few correspondents—by thoughts of justice.  How will I as a would-be follower of the Messiah affirm the just treatment of people and even decry injustice?  What will this look like in my life?

I’m especially interested in diversity and good, kind, just action within smaller groups.  How will I do with differences in a small, local body of Christians?  In a small workplace?  In a town?  As conscientiously, intentionally apolitical as I am, I do exist within various polities, and it is incumbent on me to live in a positive, productive, peaceful way within all groups, inasmuch as it depends on me.


¹ I did my internet-writer duty and looked it up on Wikipedia.  Some northern readers might find it hard to believe that the KKK still really exists, but I already knew that.  I learned that “three distinct past and present movement” comprise the KKK, and that there is currently more than one KKK organization.

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4 thoughts on “Diversity

  1. Steve 08/11/2016 / 12:01 pm

    Since you are into some KKK trivia, it is with significant regret that I discovered the birthplace of my mother was also the birth site of the KKK–Pulaski, TN. Apparently she left that off her college application…

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  2. Diane Emmons 08/11/2016 / 5:22 pm

    Brian,

    Thank you for this post on diversity. You always make me think about life in deep, meaningful ways.

    Last Saturday our family –the 36 of us who could be here–met at the Houghton cemetery to bury Horace’s cremains. The service conducted by the local Legion post was brief. Many of the Legionnaires in the color guard were Horace’s friends and younger contemporaries. He had served that post as Chaplain and Commander for several years long ago. Coming from a family of farmers I never had much contact with military servicemen until marrying Horace. I know that many people have made great sacrifices for the freedoms we have in this country. Horace felt a strong bond with others who had served during WWII so I feel that it was a fitting way to say “so long for now.”

    I attended the rehearsal of the Rushford Town Band on Tuesday. Glenda, Ben, Dottie, Pauline, Sally, Harold, Jeff, Bev, and Fred were there among others but I missed Lois, Eileen, and Eldyn. Of course, Lois is in Tennessee, Eileen’s eyesight is fading, and Eldyn’s wife had surgery, so it is understandable that they weren’t there. I think if you had been at the podium we could have sounded better, but I am thankful for opportunity to make music with others who enjoy playing instruments.

    Are you familiar with the Csehy Summer School of Music? I attended many of their events on Campus this year all during the month of July. What a blessing! The new executive director, Graeme Burgan, was raised in Australia. He is an accomplished pianist and has a heart for serving the Lord. I can hardly wait for next year!

    My plans include a car trip to PA and VA in September followed by hosting visitors from Kenya and Germany during much of October. Then I hope to fly to Montana for two weeks from Oct. 25-Nov. 8 to see my brother’s family.

    I was showing some visitors through my house yesterday and mentioned “Jedd’s Door” as a reminder of God’s protection and grace. While Horace’s family was here we watched the DVD of Jedd operating Horace’s lift chair several Christmases ago….good memories! I’m sending warm greetings to Karly and Jedd. My last remaining goat died in May so I had the fence removed and converted the barn into a rustic guest house called “Ebenezer Cottage.”

    Please know that you have been a great blessing in my life and I hope to stay in touch in days to come.

    Grace and peace,

    Diane

    ________________________________

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    • Brian Casey 08/18/2016 / 7:39 pm

      Diane, thank you for your thoughtful comments. I am so glad to help others to think once in a while. As it turns out, a couple of the (sets of) experiences you describe — military and farming activities — are very foreign to me. Herein lies a bit of diversity, I’d say. There is room enough in Jesus for lots of diversity. I’m mildly sorry about your goat but glad about your beautifully named new cottage!

      We tell the Jedd’s door story every so often. He is a very healthy child, but that day could have resulted in such catastrophe were it not for His protection. As we settle in to a new house once again, I wanted you to know that we once again have a space for the little table you made for Jedd. It is currently holding his 56-key keyboard, and he plays on it often.

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    • Brian Casey 08/18/2016 / 8:19 pm

      A little more: I’m fairly familiar with Csehy, yes, but I was not among their staffers. Something fell through when I was going to be a staff member one year, and I never knew why. (Maybe I was too diverse!) I did attend a few events there and was acquainted with several staffers.

      The mentions of Kenya and Montana leave me with a desire to go back to each!

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