Foundational to following Jesus is that we live by faith and not fear!
Psychologists tell us that the primary way people deal with fear is avoidance. We just stay away from people and places that cause us anxiety. And what causes us anxiety? The unfamiliar, the unknown. That’s why most of us prefer safe, familiar, homogenous environments and don’t welcome diversity into our lives. Encountering diversity disrupts us, brings about discomfort, and engages us in a world where our deficiencies are often exposed. When we’re in an unfamiliar environment, we don’t feel as smart, as “with it,” as competent, as in control. And who likes feeling that?
So we often cling to what we know, what we’re comfortable with. It makes us feel competent, safe, and in control. But it also does something else.
It also destroys our faith.
Foundational to following Jesus is that we live by faith and not fear! To live by faith sometimes means that we intentionally leave behind what we have known; what we have come to put our trust in; and what we have sought comfort in, convenience in. In faith, we move out into territories unknown.
But the Times Are Changing
Our culture is currently experiencing some of the most dramatic demographic shifts in recent decades. Here is a brief snapshot:
- Racial and ethnic diversity is increasingly dramatically. The percentage of whites in the United States has decreased from nearly 80% in 1980 to 60% today. The percentage of blacks has increased slightly, and the percentage Hispanics and Asians have each tripled in recent decades. Diversity is even greater in metropolitan areas, where an increasing number of not only cities, but entire metropolitan regions are majority minority.
- Diversity is suburbanizing. American suburbs were over 95% white in 1980. Today, more persons of color move to the suburbs than to cities, and because this trend has existed for two decades, the suburbs have become far more varied than ever in the past. This trend is projected to continue.