Monday, July 1, 2013

Dealing with Difference - a Canadian Way

Happy Canada Day!

One of the things I love about this country is our value of diversity. This also a big reason why I love the Vineyard so much - we are a diverse group of people pursuing God passionately. It seems so Canadian to me.

However, despite our love of diversity, diversity is also one of our biggest challenges. Just think about the recent problems with soccer loving Sikhs in Quebec. These are tough issues to navigate - yet navigate with must.

So here is a question I've been pondering: When you go to a church do you expect everyone to believe the same way you do? I'm not talking about the big things - like the Lordship of Jesus, the welcome of the Holy Spirit, etc. But the ancillary things like who can lead what part of the service, whether or not we believe in predestination or even a rapture. It is harder when the ancillary things seem to take on major importance for us.

For those of us who expect that there will be differences in these things then how do we navigate those differences?

In society we see that there is a fluidity to how differences are navigated. If we look at the history of the Church we can also see such fluidity. I want to suggest that this fluidity is part of what makes society work. In Canada we are not a melting pot, it is not that kind of fluidity that reduces everyone and everything to some sort of comfortable norm. Rather, we are like a stew. A stew is rich and full of interesting and healthy flavours (at least it can be at its best). And in a stew the broth brings everything together. It is where the tastes blend to make something richer - we are richer together or as some like to say in the Vineyard: it is better together.

I'm interested in what you think. I am aware of a number of issues that our differences are creating interesting conversations about. The question remains: How will we navigate our differences? My hope is that we will do it in the Canadian way. We will let the broth of our differences flavour our whole experience and let us better enjoy the fruits of being together no matter how insurmountable our differences might seem.

Have a great and safe Canada Day! Enjoy our country. Enjoy our Vineyard.

Frank Emanuel - Ontario Region

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