Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Here's Lookin' at You, Kid

I awoke at 6:30 to the dean calling to say that school is cancelled today. Yay!

Classes started yesterday, and went fine, although I have to remember various voice-saving strategies to get through the Tuesday-Thursday long days when I have four and a half hours of classes straight.

Dawn's mom moves in today...unless the weather catches Dawn and her in Texarkana somewhere.

I suppose this is true of many and increasingly more situations in today's culture, but one reason I like my college is that even mere visual diversity is inescapable. I think that that is incredibly healthy. Now the diversity that counts is the invisible kind: the different values, worldviews, sensibilities and sensitivities that people have. But the visual stands for that. God has so made the world that it all always tries to be meaningful, and such that meaning is always looking for a physical outlet or embodiment. What that means is that I know in my head that people have enormously different outlooks on life and things that they care about, but that I am much more likely to realize it fully, to have it come home to me, if I can see it "impersonated," in some person whose clothes, skin, hair, physiognomy, carriage, something, conveys that to my senses.

So I suppose most adults have at least heard the word Hinduism and associate it with India and religion, but having Nepalese students in my classes drives it home that this is a reality.

One would prefer that the visual diversity weren't so important. I'd like that part to just be cool. Like the time when Dawn and I were looking for churches in Louisville, Kentucky (a great city: move there if you can), and visited this one where--I have described this before--the music minister was earnestly dressed in brown polyester, the choir was happy and in robes, a silver fox in bad plaid led old gospel tunes from memory, a high school band soldiered on, clones of Eric Clapton and Moby led a worship band off to one side, the pastor was a white Zambian (well: Rhodesian, as they say), the people sitting behind us were ancient old ladies, and the woman in front of us was a black-garbed, purple-haired cosmetologist.

This is only a big deal because segregation continues to prevail at 11am on Sundays. If our sin wasn't manifested visibily, it wouldn't be so important to manifest goodness visibly. In South Africa in the 80s one church even concluded, for this very reason, that it was a sin *not* to worship in a visibly cross-racial congregation. I just observe that the Spirit is conforming us *all* to the image of Jesus ("his dear son"), and, since that obviously doesn't entail us all starting to look like Jewish guys, it must mean that the image of Jesus looks a good deal more like all of us put together than like any one of us alone. So the more of us, and the more kinds of us, we get together in Christ, the more Christlike it looks.


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