On a recent trip to New York with a friend, we sat in Manhattan watching bicycles, pedestrians, water and trash move down the street faster than us in our rental car, and I realized the great benefit of this traffic; being able to ponder the question of why live in New York? The traffic is so bad, why would you choose to live there? My friend answered, look at the cultural diversity that you can grow up with in New York. There is a strong representation of so many different ethnic backgrounds. But, how many of us would even consider that as a virtue to offset the traffic. A high paying job, maybe; but ethnic diversity?
Just a few days later, a distinction came to my mind that clarified the thoughts I was having. There is a difference between not being opposed to diversity and valuing diversity. One mindset doesn't run off people from a different ethnic background. The other mindset actually pursues people from a different ethnic background. I illustrate the difference in that my first year in Dallas, I attended a church where I and maybe one or two others were the only white people there. But I didn't choose the church because of that; I chose it simply because I wanted to be involved in inner city ministry. The DTS prof who taught urban ministries was at that church. The fact that it was an African American church did not influence my decision. In my last year of seminary, my perspective had changed. I chose to meet once a week with an African American friend to read "The Souls of Black Folk" by W.E.B. DuBois so I could better appreciate his background.
What do these ramblings have to do with Senegal? I'm excited that Adelaide will grow up learning about American and African culture. I'm excited that she will somewhat understand what it's like to be a minority (I do stress, 'somewhat.' Maybe I'll blog about that some other time). Are there challenges we will face raising Adelaide in Senegal? Sure. But I feel that we will have so many benefits of raising her in Senegal.
The apostle Paul speaks of the benefits of diversity in 1 Cor. 12 and I have to think while Paul mainly mentions diversity of giftedness, diversity of background must also be beneficial. Rev 5:9 emphasizes not the quantity of people praising God; but that there are people from every tribe and tongue. Ephesians 2 and 3 talks about how the church (composed of Jews and Gentiles) brings greater glory to God. I do expect we will make sacrifices in our move to Senegal, but what a tremendous gift it will be to be a small part of bringing people from more tribes and more tongues to Christ.
Who Are We
We should be jealous. . . for the honour of His name – troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed. And all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honour and glory which are due to it.” John Stott