Os Guinness pointed out that we were living at the end of 500 years of Western dominance. You don’t have to look far to see signs of this. Three blocks from where I grew up, I can drive for a mile without being able to read a sign or the name of a business because everything is in Chinese. It was not that way even thirty years ago.
Islam is the third-largest faith in the United States, after Christianity and Judaism. The chances of having a Muslim family move in next to you have risen dramatically in the last ten years. According to the 2011 Census, 2.7 million Muslims live in England and Wales where they form 5.0% of the general population and 9.1% of children under the age of five.
Travel outside of the United States and you find out that America is not revered and admired as it once was. Our power and presence in the world is shrinking. Go as missionaries to Africa and find out you want to bring some of them back to be missionaries to America, because they are following Christ more fiercely than we are. Our dominance is largely cultural now. Barbie has most likely gone farther than any one of us could go in influencing the world.
America is growing more increasingly diverse. No need to go to the world anymore; the world is coming to us. The classroom full of homogeneous white children is a thing of the past. One of my college roommates is a pastor in central California, a predominately agricultural area that resembled mid-America when we were in school. Now his church holds separate services in three different languages.
All of this is actually good for us. We have been so arrogant. We are being humbled into facing the fact that our seemingly vast country occupies a small place on this planet, and it is growing smaller by the minute. We can no longer turn a blind eye on the rest of the world. We have to learn to be good neighbors now, and in doing so, respect those who are different than us.
This all eventually comes down to you and me, and how we live our lives. We are citizens of the world and America is looking more and more like the world, and that is as it should be.
Jesus used to tell His disciples not to choose the best seat in the house. Better to be invited up by the host than to be sent back. He told them to get to the end of the line because the first will be last, and the last will be first. In other words, choose the humble place. Choose to lift up those around you. Grace turned outward starts with looking highly on those who are different.
It’s human nature to judge and fear that which is different. Yet the kingdom of God belongs first to the poor and the marginalized. Better get used to what’s different, so you will be right at home in the kingdom of heaven.
In 1979 I recorded a song that foreshadowed this Catch. For a free download click here.