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Diversity is More Than Color
Monday, November 14, 2022 by Cindy K. Sproles

Diversity seems to be the word these days. Please, don’t misunderstand. I’m not being snide. It’s something that should have been happening for centuries, but these days, it seems to be the new buzzword. And I wonder, how long will the buzz last before the noise wears down and a new buzz begins?

 I ask for your forgiveness as I start this blog because this mountain gal is about as unrefined and politically incorrect as they come...and not because I’m trying to be belligerent...but because I simply can’t keep up with the continual changes. Today it’s one way, tomorrow it’s different. I’ll be honest. I turned the news off in 2020 and I’ve hardly watched it since. My ignorance comes from not keeping up with the national news. Still, when I had to choose between my walk with Christ and the national news, I felt my time was far better spent with the One who makes a difference in my life. As I walk through this post, know that my use of certain words is not meant to be demeaning or slanderous, but it’s simply that this mountain girl can’t keep up with the buzz. Please forgive me in advance.

I recently sat through a conference and a class on Sensitivity in a Diverse Culture. It walked me through all the ways I needed to be sensitive – which by the way, is another word that has fallen to the world’s way of definition. Sensitive used to mean, being tender, asserting compassion, and attention to the needs of others. Now it means, don’t hurt Joe’s feelings, he’ll end up in therapy for months. Sigh.

However, what I am learning in my questions to God is listed as question three: What are you teaching me about diversity?

I realized as I taught Bible study tonight, exactly what God was teaching me about diversity. It had nothing to do with the ethnicity of a person, but it had everything to do with the wide range of individuals that are in my life. I know...hold on...I’m getting there.

Today I had a Bible question. It started with a little research about mineral springs. As I searched the internet for information on the healing attributes of mineral springs (of course it ties to an Appalachian historical novel in the works), I ran upon a historical society in the Holy Lands where a Rabbi made a blanket statement about the Pool of Bethesda. Now if you don’t know about the Pool of Bethesda let me quickly fill you in. Long story short, people gathered by the pool to be healed. The belief was, that when the waters bubbled it was an angel who was stirring the waters with healing powers. People would rush to the water, and jump in, in hopes to be miraculously healed. Jesus went to the Pool of Bethesda and there He pinpointed a man who was ill for 38 years. He asked the man, Do you want to be healed? The man said he couldn’t get to the water fast enough. Jesus asked, Do you want to be healed? And when the man answered yes, Jesus healed him. It wasn’t from the waters of the pool – it was by faith. 

All that to say, this Rabbi said that it was possible that the Pool of Bethesda was mineral water.  I was curious just to know if there was more to the hubbub besides some of the pagan rituals of the times. Mineral waters are healing on the superficial areas of the skin to kill bacteria or infestations like lice – gentle on sores and wounds. Usually, mineral waters are found in hot springs where the waters are 78 degrees or warmer. This alone eases swollen joints and sore muscles. That said, I was curious if there was any validity to that assumption the Rabbi made. I was curious. Here’s where the diversity comes in. 

I called my friend Eva, who has a Really Smart Divinity Degree of some sort, and asked her – Do you think the waters at Bethesda were mineral waters? This Rabbi sort of insinuated that this was why folks flocked to the waters to wait on the “angel.” She was curious, so she contacted a friend she has who is a guide in the Holy Lands. As she did that, I contacted a professor friend at a Bible College, who promptly sent my question to a colleague who happened to be leading our very minister and a group from our church on a tour of the Holy Lands. (Go figure.) That man came back with the information I needed at about the same time as Eva’s friend. There are no natural springs at Bethesda. It was rainwater or water pumped up to the pool. Though there are mineral pools in the area, none are close to where the Pools of Bethesda were. (FYI – no, the waters were not mineral – diversity showed me that.)

So in a few short moments, I was in contact with four different folks some of whom I’d never met – diversity. And a huge range of diversity it was – from friends to friends of friends who were much smarter than me.

I get the importance of inclusion from disabled to skin color. I get it. I live with a son who has disabilities, but God quickly showed me just how diverse my world was and needs to continue to be. Four different people, two of them on the other side of the world, all pooled (no pun intended) together to answer my question.

We spend so much time demanding diversity due to ethnicity that we forget the personal interactions we have daily that are so diverse it blows my mind. Diversity is not what makes us different, it’s what joins us together. Diverse – an assortment. It’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates. When we stop looking at the color of our skin and start looking at the individuals who make up our lives, suddenly the word takes on a new meaning. We don’t include them because of their color, rather, we include them because we love them. They are part of our lives and God enriches us through them.

It was a wonderful realization when I opened my eyes to see God. He showed me just how diverse His world and His children are – and we already know so many. My lesson was to learn to recognize people for the internal not the external. Every person in this world carries an attribute of God because, after all, He created every single one. If I can find four within minutes with one question, how many can you find if you look?

Diversity spans so much more than what the world wants us to believe. It’s more than your rights because of your skin color. If we put aside what we feel like others owe us and simply be the people God has made us, then suddenly the physical attributes disappear and all that shows is the internal gifts we are blessed with.

I know...you probably say, “it’s not that easy.”  And it’s not if it’s left to man’s own devices, but when we drop the scales from our eyes that blind us – the entitlement – and look beyond the colors of the world begin to blend and mix and create new tints and shades that bring us new depth and love.

 Look deeper and be amazed at the wide assortment of individuals placed in your life. Look at WHO they are not what they are. Diversity becomes true again.

 

Photo 1 - Image by GlenisAymara from Pixabay     Photo 2 – www.leighdeanery.co.uk   Photo 2 -  Image by Barbara Bonanno from Pixabay 

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Comments

Theresa Parker Pierce From Granite Quarry NC At 11/15/2022 3:01:04 PM

I wrote a paper for grad school about a rodeo girl in my class. Talk about unique… she roped goats, traveled with her family to events, gave me a backstage tour, the works. My eyes were opened to how to teach her better. It was a huge step out of my comfort zone. Diversity is as you said, more than

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

Indeed.

Steven Hutson From Los Angeles At 11/15/2022 1:04:21 PM

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/columns-and-blogs/soapbox/article/76782-defining-literary-diversity.html

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

Thank you.

Edwina E Cowgill From Newnan GA At 11/15/2022 11:52:06 AM

You hit the nail on the head! Edwina (Tried sharing to FB, but never could get it to post!)

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

Thank you.

Jan Loyd From Dayton, OH At 11/15/2022 7:56:05 AM

Love this, Cindy. This sounds like my ZOOM Bible study… very diverse in age, race, “Christian camp” (aka denomination), personality, etc. Love these ladies… the differences melt away when love takes over.

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

If we would just look inward.

Kelly From Southeastern, NC At 11/15/2022 7:25:31 AM

I love how the Lord teaches in layers. And there is always so much more beneath the surface of what we think is there. If we just peel back and look... Thank you for helping me peel a layer. ?? You are always a blessing.

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

He knows we are onions!

Steven Hutson From Los Angeles At 11/15/2022 6:47:18 AM

Bravo, Cindy. I wrote an article about this a few years ago, in Publisher's Weekly. The sense of entitlement only harms the author's prospects.

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

Thanks Steve. Link for your article?

Mountain Breeze Writer


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