Diversity . . . how do I feel about our mixed world?

Today there is SO much DIVERSITY –
every way I turn,
I am confronted through daily interactions with people
highlighting “differences” in cultures, philosophies,
politics, religion, language, food . . . everything!

I started wondering how the early followers of “the way”
were able to be described as “of one heart and soul” and
what that really meant. From my Judeo-Christian background that
seemed like an important place to start looking at how “believers”
should react to diversity.

So I looked at the Hebrew meaning of the words “heart” and “soul” and
the circumstances of this group which began on the day of Pentecost and,
fortunately, the writer of Acts describes as diverse, “from every nation.”
(Acts 2:1, 5, 46 — Acts 4:32)

lev (heart) and nefesh (soul):
The three special functions, knowing, feeling, and willing,
ascribed by modern psychologists to the mind,
were attributed to the heart by the Biblical writers—
All modes of feeling, from the lowest physical forms, as hunger and thirst,
to the highest spiritual forms, as reverence and remorse,
are attributed by the Hebrews to the heart.

As the whole physical and psychical life is centralized in the heart,
so the whole moral life springs from and issues out of it. (JewishEncyclopedia.com)

To love God with all our heart and all our soul, means to love with the entirety of our being . . .
SO maybe that is where I have to begin to understand
how the early followers of “the way” were of one heart and soul
while being such a diverse community . . . a common focus – GOD!

DIVERSITY . . . my reactions to our differences should call me
to look into my heart for the insights that tell me why I react the way I do—
why my automatic response to a person of color or to a head scarf on a woman
or to a motorcycle rider or a teen wearing low-riding jeans or a screaming child
is what it is . . . why? NOT why are they the way they are, BUT why do I
feel the way I do when i see them?

It may take a deeper, personal look inside of me to be able to understand
the answers to these questions about my world today . . . slower steps before I decide

Jeanne Hicks Barnett
March 8, 2016—March 8, 2020

About Jeanne

a work in progress . . . God's grace has brought me through many traumas of varying intensities and I am alive today (both physically & spiritually) because of Him and His work: "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus"-Philippians 1:6. My childhood was spent living in many places in the United States due to my family's music or ministry—The Hicks Family, made up of Olan & Barbara Hicks, my younger brothers, Clint & Chuck & me, sang in different combos (put out an album), does so no longer professionally . . . but, visit a family gathering in Searcy & you're bound to hear some foot-tapping sounds (or catch my dad & mom on the road)! I believe that every moment of each life path (the good & what I perceive as the bad) God works together for my good as His child whether I understand it or not. MUSIC and MINISTRY are still primary aspects of the path God has me walking—so exciting! Words that have encouraged me since 1980: ". . . giving them a garland instead of ashes,The oil of gladness instead of mourning,The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting So they will be called oaks of righteousness,The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified." Isaiah 61:3
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