Diversity: Tearing Down Racial Walls

Did you know that white light is actually made up of multiple colors? In its design, if one of the three primary colors is missing or even diminished, the purity and power of the light is dramatically affected.

Jesus tells us that we, the body of Christ, are “the light of the world” (Matt 5:14), so it makes sense that in order for our light to shine brightly as He intended, we need each color to shine. We need every race, tribe and tongue not just represented, but fully flourishing!

I recently had a dream that I adopted an adorable little boy of a different race than myself. One day, while at the playground with my daughter Lea and I, the boy was harassed, and I didn’t stand up for him. Instead, I froze and focused on playing with Lea at a safe distance. If the “bad guy” had been harassing Lea, I would have risked my life for her, but not so for my adopted son.

After being bullied twice without me protecting him, he was kidnapped. I started chasing down his kidnappers because I knew it was the right thing to do. But why didn’t I have the heart-pounding adrenaline rush you’d expect a parent to have in a dreadful moment like this? Then something in me shifted. As I pleaded for help from the police, the weight of what was happening sunk in, and a sick feeling grew in my gut. I started to feel a love for my son so strong that it suddenly matched my love for my daughters.

My entire pursuit of him changed. I fought harder, drove faster, yelled louder and focused more intensely to rescue him. I was now willing to risk my life for him. It wasn’t just the right thing to do anymore; my heart had skin in the game, and it was all because of love.

I’d like to say the dream ended with a heroic rescue, but it didn’t. I was too late… my son was murdered.

This dream shook me to the core and led me to ask myself hard questions - questions I didn’t think I needed to ask. You see, I’m a California girl who grew up thinking racial division was a nasty thing of the past. I may not be actively excluding or harassing people because of their skin color or background, but am I letting it happen in society on my watch? When it comes to embracing others outside my cultural circles, what’s my motivation? Am I being led by apathetic obligation or passionate love? Am I willing to do what it takes to see racial walls crumble, or will I wait until it’s too late?

Does this make you want to take a hammer to the walls of racial division? Me too! Let’s start swinging with these three steps:

Pray for Genuine Love

Refuse to let tackling issues of race, or any kind of division in the Church, be just another good thing to do. Plead with the God of love to fill your heart with unconditional love for all of His people. And when love starts causing you to do crazy, risky things, don’t try to tame it.

Do Life Together

It all starts with relationship. Are there people of other cultures who have shown up in your church, work, or neighborhood hungry for community? As Brittany Batson suggested on the most recent Brave Worship podcast, take someone out for coffee and simply get to know their story. “We see diversity as just having one token up there [on stage],” she says, “but that’s the surface.” We need to be “engaging in community with the other race. The heart of that will be translated. It won’t look staged. It will be authentic. That’s the next level.”

Collaborate in Your Craft

Krissy Nordhoff encourages us songwriters and worship leaders to add “diversity in our music, not just [people of different races] on stage.” This isn’t the easy route to go - it’s a piece of cake for churches across the globe to download a multitrack file and have instant stellar sound… but have we allowed convenience to stifle the sound of our local communities? Be intentional this month to find people of other cultures and musical styles to write and create with. The beauty that comes from weaving hearts and styles together may surprise you.

As we continue this conversation, we must remember that diversity is not the end goal - glorifying God is. As we unite in this goal, diversity is both an essential building block and a priceless reward, and shows the world that God’s love inside us is stronger than the forces trying to divide us.

Can I geek out about light again for a second? When light touches an object, something profound happens. When the light, with its multiple colors, touches a blue ball, it reacts with the design of the atoms inside that blue ball. The ball then reflects only blue light so that our eyes see it for what it is: a blue ball.

So it is with the Body of Christ, the light of the world. When the song of our lives touches people, it reacts with their God-given design and causes them to reflect to the world who they were truly meant to be.


Click HERE for some real talk on racial diversity as Krissy and Maribeth have an eye-opening conversation with special guest Brittany Batson.

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Bria Valderrama

Singer/Songwriter, Worship Leader, Prayer Warrior