A basis for harmony and diversity, together

It often seems as if conflict and diversity – racial, cultural, or otherwise – go hand in hand. But recognizing one another as unique, valued members of God’s family brings harmony to our interactions.

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Throughout the world’s population, one very prominent characteristic is our diversity – cultural, racial, and otherwise. Even the individuals within any particular group are unique. But do these differences make us susceptible to envy, distrust, and revenge? At times it would certainly seem that way.

Yet I’ve increasingly been rethinking this premise, based on something I’ve found to be helpful and healing in many areas of life – exploring the nature of God and what we are as God’s creation. It’s made me question whether cultural and racial discord is truly inevitable.

The Bible asks some insightful questions that we might apply to this timeless topic: “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?” (Malachi 2:10).

As God’s children, we each have perpetual membership in the same precious divine family. If God were both evil and good, then both goodness and evil would be present in God’s creations. If God is purely and absolutely good, however – as the divine Science of Christ reveals Deity to be – then the essence of God’s creations must also be good, including being free from any pull toward animosity.

God is also divine Spirit, so we, as God’s wonderful creation, are each entirely spiritual. The offspring of God aren’t defined by skin color or any other material label any more than infinite Spirit could be. The true nature of everyone is unique and completely beyond the confines of matter, expressing fully and only the beautiful, good, and permanent qualities of God.

As we gain a fuller understanding of this spiritual reality, including all the spectacular diversity of God’s spiritual creation, we can’t help but feel much more united with our fellow men and women of all backgrounds. “Progress takes off human shackles,” explains Christian Science Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (p. 256). She continues: “The finite must yield to the infinite. Advancing to a higher plane of action, thought rises from the material sense to the spiritual, from the scholastic to the inspirational, and from the mortal to the immortal.”

I saw some proof of this in my college years on my summer baseball team, which was quite diverse. As a result of racial unrest, there had been riots in our state. Instead of this inharmony spilling over onto our team, though, we ended up becoming a very close group. Our league consisted of teams located throughout northern California, and we really enjoyed traveling and being together.

We weren’t overlooking one another’s diversities. Rather, we genuinely appreciated what made us all unique. I loved seeing in my friends a myriad of evidences of divine Spirit expressing itself – through qualities such as joy, selflessness, and strength – in refreshingly individual ways. Every day, I strove to see my teammates as entirely spiritual, not limited by matter, fear, history, and so on. After those happy seasons were over, I remained close with many of those friends.

Rather than creating us all as clones, the divine Spirit who is God has bestowed all of creation with clear diversity and with heartening and encouraging freedoms, including freedom from hatred and fear. “The Lord our God is one Lord,” explains the Old Testament, a message later taught by Christ Jesus (Deuteronomy 6:4, Mark 12:29). This one God expresses Himself in diverse reflections of His oneness – in His individual, unique children, just as a wide variety of plants make a rich garden.

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit,” says the Bible (see I Corinthians 12:4). All existence is thoroughly enriched by the uniqueness of God’s spiritual creation. We exist to show forth the permanence and goodness, the power and love, of the infinite Spirit that is God. And recognizing the God-bestowed diversity of God’s family enriches our interactions with more harmony.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.