People are unique and complex: we all come with special stories with a wide range of backgrounds that shape our perspectives, character, and identity. Scripture reveals that God is ultimately concerned with relationships founded in Love and Peace (Isaiah 32:16-20; Luke 2:14; John 14:27). The whole saving movement of the Triune God is to achieve Love and Peace between God, humanity, and creation. (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:14; Colossians 1:17-20)
Our community experienced the tragedy of the Japanese-American concentration camps so we know what it’s like to suffer injustice by the majority culture, so we want to take great care not to do that to others in the margins. Today, our church continues to diversify in the makeup of our people’s background, ethnicity and identities. I wanted to write this statement to give us a dream of how I hope our church will grow in its diversity.
Genesis 1:27 tells us that everyone has the dignity of being created in God’s image. This is regardless of one’s social opinions, theologies, politics, spiritualities, gender identities, orientations, ethnic associations and beyond. Through the amazing Grace of Jesus Christ's life, death and resurrection, we are all adopted into the family of God by faith (Romans 8:14-15). I want everyone to know God’s peace in being God’s child. In Christ, every part of JBC’s community is wholly open to us because we are a part of the family of God.
It is an ambitious thing to attempt the hospitality that I am hoping for, and we are still on the way to making this realized, but nevertheless, we need to press on in loving and inviting people into our community. We don’t have all the answers but let’s not be afraid to look for them. Diversity can be a messy process: we may be hurt and misunderstood along the way as we figure out how to live together through forgiveness and Grace. We want everyone to be safe, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will be comfortable! I hope you would join us in this great and challenging journey of learning to grow in diversity together. May the God of Peace 'who has broken down every wall' (Ephesians 2:14) teach us how to love one another in sincerity and compassion.