Metaphors matter immensely when we cast vision for a multi-ethnic congregation.
How do we communicate the kind of unity that the Spirit of God makes possible? What image captures the kind of diversity we see at Pentecost?
E Pluribus Unum—from the many one—is the motto for our nation. But we have had many bad metaphors to communicate this maxim.
For example, the melting pot requires that you give up your unique identity for the sake of the new culture; it’s more about the one than the many. The salad bowl analogy allows for each part to remain distinct but then we are left to argue as to what our unifying “dressing” should be. Ultimately it is more about the many than the one.
I’m grateful that we have an indigenous metaphor of unity without uniformity. There is a product of our country that was born out of the tensions of E Pluribus Unum: Jazz.
Ensemble community balances the individual and the group. Each person remains distinct while playing the same song. Everyone brings who they are to the experience as the Spirit calls out the song. We live in concert with and for each other.