Category Archives: Diversity

Was Jesus Prejudiced?

After reading Matthew 15: 21-28 one would think so!  And I wouldn’t be surprised.  He was fully human and, being human, was raised with cultural and religious biases with which he had to grapple.  It’s important to remember that the Gospel of Matthew was written to a predominantly Jewish Christian community.  The Gospel reflects this bias.  Perhaps the author is illustrating for his Jewish hearers how even Jesus had to overcome prejudice, pointing to the reason why they should welcome even “pagan” Gentiles as equals?   Whatever the case, we have a situation where prejudice is obvious; and, gratefully, overcome.

A pagan woman presents herself to Jesus asking for healing for her daughter.  Jesus dismisses her, even calling her a dog – probably a common term for Gentiles at the time.  She persists though and, in the end, Jesus recognizes – even in this woman – great need and great faith; and in the end, he helps her.

As much as I would like to think that I welcome all people, I am embarrassed to admit that I don’t.  There are certain types – usually close minded, fundamentalist types – that I often ignore and avoid.  I am challenged to look beyond labels and preconceived notions and open my heart to even these.   I am challenged to help even those who would prefer that “my type,” either change or cease to exist.  The gifts and talents that I have to offer I am to give even to these people, and I am not to view this as a waste, or as “throwing food to the dogs!”

Do I share what I have to offer with all people, or just a select few?

“Diversity” . . . Really???

“Diversity?”. . . Really??

“If you love only those who love you, what merit is there in that? . . . If you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is so praiseworthy about that?” (See Matthew 5: 43-48)

I sometimes pride myself on being open to “diversity,” an oft used word today. Certainly as a gay man, I pride myself in being open to a variety of people and am big on acceptance! But if the truth be known, sometimes I live in the narrow parameters of my own ghetto, my own group. I am sad to say that sometimes I avoid those who disagree with me and I judge them in my heart. For example, I avoid close minded, right wing fundamentalist types. But if I cannot be open to these people, “what merit is there in that?” If I greet only my own, am I truly open to diversity?

Also, when it comes to the world stage, if I am only reading and watching things which agree with my world view, what merit is there in that? Should I not also listen to and read about what the opposing camp is saying? Perhaps the key is in the word “listen.” All too often, opposing camps simply express their own thoughts and opinions without listening to what the other side has to say. I am just as guilty as anyone else about that. So I have to ask myself today, how truly open to “diversity” am I?