There is a difference between being “diverse” and being “different.” The Corinthian Christians were stressing their differences. One said he was a follower of Paul, while another declared that he owed his allegiance to Apollos. Those differences turned the church in Corinth into a gaggle of groups. Each group was opposed to the other groups. There was no unity. The congregation was so busy fighting among themselves that they had little time and energy left for service.
Diversity acknowledges our differences but celebrates our similarities. They’re black and we’re white. They’re straight but we’re gay. Some people are conservative while others are liberal. We’re Presbyterian, they’re Anglican and the people of another congregation are non-denominational. We are all, however, children of God. This truth unites us. We are all loved by God and we can all be used by God’s Spirit to share God’s love and grace.
Differences divide people. Diversity can unite people. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are invited to acknowledge and respect our diversity while at the same time combining our talents and abilities to honor and serve God.
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.