The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 10/14

Posted on | September 14, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 10/14

Scripture reading: Ephesians 2:11–22

Melting Pot, Salad Bowl

or Family of God?

And by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom. (Revelation 5:9–10)

Traditionally, America has seen itself as a melting pot. This metaphor was designed to show how immigrants from different backgrounds were supposed to assimilate into the dominant North American culture. The varied cultural elements were supposed to “melt” together into a new harmonious whole so that the resulting “stew” would have a unique and uniform taste. In the latter part of the twentieth century, however, many have become uncomfortable with the melting pot concept. To some it seems arrogant, ethnocentric. Why should others be like us? We have our own problems. Do we think we’re better than the rest of the world? And so the idea of the salad bowl was born. This more politically correct metaphor suggests that different cultures don’t need to merge or melt together; rather, each culture can preserve its own unique identity and flavor—like the ingredients in a tossed salad. The hope is that different cultures will mix together but remain distinct.

Today the pendulum seems to be swinging back. In Western Europe especially, a decades-long commitment to “multiculturalism” is being challenged by governments in Germany, England, Switzerland and France. Admittedly, the motivation for such a shift in public opinion is largely economics, politics, and the ugly arrogance of old-fashioned nationalism, but the changing climate should be of great interest to the church of Jesus Christ. As government leaders look for new models and metaphors to cast a vision for how we should live together in a global society, this is the moment for God’s people to arise and say, “We have the answer!”

On the day of Pentecost, a new era in human history was inaugurated when the church was born. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit redefined ethnic and national identities so that a whole new way of living together in this multicultural world was now possible. Suddenly men and women from fifteen different nations were able to understand one another and have genuine fellowship based on their faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 2: 5–11). The curse of Babel (Genesis 11:1–9) was broken and genuine community that transcended cultural barriers was now made possible. Christians discovered that their citizenship in God’s kingdom took precedence over all other cultural loyalties. The culture into which one had been born, though beautiful and a thing to be cherished, had been decisively trumped by the culture into which one had been born again! The hope of the world was not a melting pot or a salad bowl; rather, it was the Kingdom of God in all its multi-cultural diversity!

Today, the church has an unprecedented opportunity. As the old models of living together are crumbling, and the bankruptcy of human schemes for a peaceful planet are exposed as naive, superficial, and ineffective, the family of God has the chance to show the world how life together in a global village really works! But it will take more than talk. It will require a living illustration.

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26–28)

All too often the church holds up a mirror reflecting back the society around it, rather than a window revealing a different way. —Philip Yancey

point to ponder Your citizenship in the Kingdom of God trumps every other national and ethnic identity.

prayer focus Thank God for the enrichment other cultures bring into your church. Pray for opportunities to learn and grow from each other to impact the community and the world for Christ.

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