Awakenings 2019 Topical Forum Multicultural-Future Panel 2 Charles Montgomery, Karen Swallow Prior, Lucas Pulley, Mia Chang, Moderator: Lisa Rodriguez-Watson
Multiculturalism is a broad and important reality for the church as we seek to witness to the good news of God’s in-breaking kingdom. It’s broad and important not merely because of what it signals about the world we inhabit, but because it reflects something intrinsic to the very character of God and thus something imperative to the identity and integrity of the Church as the body of Christ.
Differences in our languages, histories, technologies, geographies, genders, and so much else are all key ingredients to the multicultural realities of our lives and our stories. They are the gloriously inescapable characteristics of existence and the context in which God, in Christ, is reconciling all things to himself.
Far from being a boutique enterprise or something for just a niche group to pursue, stewarding the inherently multicultural nature of groups of people gathered together around the person, teaching, and work of Jesus is essential to the witness and mission of the Church. As our world becomes increasingly polarized around competing values and struggles for power, in many
instances violently so, the Church is called to embody a counter-reality in which our multicultural differences can be respected, enjoyed, and celebrated in common submission to the Lordship of Christ over all things.
These forums provide an opportunity to consider the breadth of what it means for the Church to embrace multiculturalism as a defining characteristic and to engage in conversations about the kinds of leadership and practices that it requires.