WHAT - is homogeneity?
SO WHAT - does that have to do with my faith? Or those I disciple?
NOW WHAT ...?
"Embedded within our self-definition, we build relationships, institutions, cities, systems, and cultures that, in reaffirming our values, blind us to alternatives." "Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril" by Margaret Heffernan
Homogeneous: "of the same or a similar kind, nature or class; of uniform structure or composition throughout a culturally homogeneous neighborhood or a group marked by common characteristics." "The quality or state of being all the same or all of the same kind." (Dictionary)
- Identity: Self-image is the search (and often, struggle) to know who we are and discover our purpose in life
- Family: We cannot choose our brith family but not all birth-families are healthy; some seek "family" with others who suit/affirm their mind-set or value-system
- Ethnicity: Ancestoy.com has exploded with millions searching for their biological relatives
- Community: Neighborhoods, schools, churches, shape (and stunt) worldview, behaviors
- Geography: Terrain impacts life experience (mountains, desert, plains, tropics):
- Nationality: For most of history, ethnicity and nationality were close to synonymous; now we have Italian-Americans, African-Americans plus mass migration
- Society: The segment of society we live in or identify with can shut us off from what life is like in other social environments
- Economy: Financial status funnels us into a "class" and each class has a different experience with/access to the systems/institutions of society
- Affinity: We gravitate toward certain groups, jobs, or activities based on personal interests, lifestyles, past experiences (divorce, for example)
- History :Everyone is affected by a limited (and sometimes inaccurate) view of history, which is often communicated to define/defend a particular group
"A blind spot is a very small gap in the visual field of each eye—an area of your relatively nearby surroundings that you can't see. It may sound like a physical defect, but everyone has a small natural blind spot (physiological blind spot), and it's not usually noticeable. (VeryWell Health)
"An area in which one fails to exercise judgment or discrimination." (Dictionary)
- Ethnocentrism extends that worldview to other families and nationalities.
- Nationalism is the product of the homogeneous perspective applied to the policies and traditions of a society or nation.
The homogeneous blindspot causes us to automatically consider differences as a threat or heresy to "biblical" truth (read, our group's doctrinal statement). Thinking we are speaking up for God, we are actually reacting to a perceived peril to the equilibrium of our culture or limited worldview. Reimagining justice, for example, threatens the historical narrative of the United States that has been taught and sung and celebrated since our inception. Treatment of the First Nations tribes or the kidnapped African slaves is described from the vantage point of the homogeneity of the majority-culture (whites or persons wholly assimilated to white culture). Reviewing and revising our view of national history must not be considered an assault on Christianity when it is actually an honest attempt to correct a false description or definition of what actually took place.
The resistance to change that may result in a loss of control over cultural forms and functions stifles the work of the Holy Spirit to convict us of national sin, God's definition of a righteous nation, and deadens the fear of God judging that sin. Recently, I had the privilege of contributing to a book of daly prayers prompted by Jesus' prayer in John 17. A biblical, Christian response to the issue of racism, it is designed to open the heart of the reader to experience inner healing, repent, where needed, and move toward heart-transformation ... but also a cry for God to bring healing over the evil of racism in our nation ... a prophetic voice declaring we cannot turn a blind eye to this issue any longer ... includes short stories by people of color ... written by national leaders of multiple ethnicities. The book was ignored by the largely majority-culture customer base of the publisher because it was clearly dealing with a view of social justice that, though thoroughly biblical, was outside the scope of their homogeneous sensibilities. The homogeneity of majority-culture American evangelical congregations is a breeding ground for prejudice (stereotyping, discriminating), as unintentional as it may be.
- ASK...the Holy Spirit to reveal our blindspots and convict us of any sin associated with our limited perspective
- SEEK...the leading of our Lord Jesus to a new, biblical-sized, perspective on God's Kingdom
- KNOCK...carefully and prayerfully on closed doors: explore different perspectives, extend grace to people you've avoided or feared, expect to be changed for good and for God (Romans 12:2)
- CONFESS...any mis-take or sin the Spirit brings to mind
- Contrition is the recognition of the need for change (Romans 12:2)
- Convince yourself you need to reassess
- Confess ("say the same thing") to God
- Confess to others you can trust to help you into a Spirit-led, Scripture-fed reassessment
- Continue to Ask - Seek - Knock...