One of the cultural assumptions I have consistently experienced through the years is that life in small towns is pretty homogenous. But nothing could be further from my reality and that of many of the small communities I have spent time in.
The community I grew up in was ethnically, economically and educationally diverse. Anglos, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans are all the faces in my yearbook. There are those who did not graduate from high school and others who went on to get PhDs.
The best part of the combination of small and diverse was the lack of critical mass to create sub groups. Plainly stated, there just wasn’t enough of us to form a “jock” group, “band” group or “chess club” group. “Smart” kids and “academically challenged” kids, “athletic” and “non-athletic” kids, “rich” kids and “economically” strapped kids all hung out together. In fact, none of the above classifications were used – we were just kids.
The other fact is we needed each other. To make a football team, a marching band, a chess club everyone who was willing was welcomed. What this produced was a broad spectrum of talent and a wide range of perspective. In many respects this is the definition of community.
Blogger Nadia Bolz-Weber ( Sarcastic Lutheran – The cranky spirituality of a postmodern Gal) states, “If the whole Church was innovative edges without a core it would collapse. But the opposite is true as well. Without new growth on the edges the core will die. We need each other, you know…like a body needs all its parts.”
I could not agree more – we NEED each other. In fact, to truly be the Body of Christ we must include each other: the jock and the marching band, the center and the edge, the hands and the feet of Christ.