Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Diversity Culture by Matthew Raley - DNF

The Diversity Culture by Matthew Raley
Copyright 2009
Kregel Publications
DNF

I didn't finish this book, but there were things I found interesting within the 33 pages I managed to read before deciding it was not the book for me. The book is subtitled, "Creating Conversations of Faith with Buddhist Baristas, Agnostic Students, Aging Hippies, Political Activists, and Everyone in Between." At the point I quit reading, I was having trouble with some of the comparisons between today's non-believers and the Samaritans, which I think boiled down to just not knowing my Bible well enough. I liked this, though:

The Diversity Culture [author's definition]: The dominant American ethos of openness toward all beliefs and spiritual traditions.

This culture cries for a label. It needs to be distinguished from the consumer society, but a tag remains elusive. David Brooks calls it Bobo, "bourgeois bohemian." Bill O'Reilly calls it "secular progressive." Rush Limbaugh calls it "liberal wacko." I call it the diversity culture, after its top priority.

Basically, the author is a Christian minister who seeks to create open dialogue between believers in his own faith and everyone else, knowing that the young adults of today's (I'm assuming American) society are less stringent about religious beliefs and more willing to accept diversity of culture, ethnicity, and morality -- all of which make a preacher guy really uncomfortable.

How to overcome the problems of communicating with a set of people who often have radically different beliefs from church ministers is the point. I wasn't getting it, though, and I'm not sure the book applies to me; in fact, Rush Limbaugh would probably label me a liberal wacko so maybe I'm on the wrong side of the coin. I'd particularly recommend this for people who consider themselves evangelistic or who desire to learn how to communicate across those boundaries in order to share their beliefs without offending.

12 comments:

  1. I don't think that's the book for me either!

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  2. I was surprised because I thought it sounded so interesting, but it just wasn't for me. I think I'll donate my copy to the church. I've got quite a nice little church donation box going, here.

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  3. It does sound interesting, but I can see that you would need to be in the right mood. I think it's hard to read something that's just not grabbing you when there are so many other books you're dying to fit into your busy schedule.

    I like your idea of a church donation box.

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  4. Booklogged,

    I don't think it was my mood. I think it was confusing and I just didn't know the story well enough to understand how he was relating Samaritans to a modern culture -- either that or in my heart I didn't think it quite fit.

    Thanks. I've been reviewing so many Christian books, this year, that I figured sharing them with my church is one great way to help build up our little church library.

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  5. When I saw the title for this book, I thought that it would make my amazon.com wish list. But after reading your review, I realized that I'm bored with it before I even start it.

    Thanks for saving me the $$$. My children's nonexistent college funds thank you as well.

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  6. Cupcake,

    It sounds good, doesn't it? It just didn't do much for me, I'm sorry to say. I hate giving negative reviews, but that's just how I feel. I put my copy in the church donation box and I'm hoping someone at my church will enjoy it. :)

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  7. Wow is this an interesting can of worms to open up! When I first say "diversity" it made me think of the awful equity training we were forced to endure as educators because someone had decided that 'black and brown children' in our district were not getting the education they deserved. What a pile of crap! A lot of the diversity training went away with the election of our first Black president, and for that, I am grateful. But, then again, I'm from Illinois, not Mississippi, and I have not experienced the pain the South has. Ah, I fear I tread on dangerous land...

    As to the idea of labelling our society though, that strikes a chord in me. It seems that everyone's become Methodist, and by that I mean that everything's okay to everyone as long as it doesn't hurt someone else. I no longer see anyone willing to say that's right and wrong as clearly as was said in Leave It To Beaver days.

    At the risk of offending everyone, I'll stop here, but you have triggered a lot of thought in my mind in case you couldn't tell.

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  8. Bellezza,

    Yikes, I think I'm afraid to respond. By that "Everyone's a Methodist" comment, do you mean religion has been watered down and people aren't willing to stand up for their beliefs?

    Diversity has a different meaning in this book than what you're referring to. He's really talking about people like my son (believes in global warming, doesn't spend a lot of money except when he spends a LOT of money on something very nice, willing to embrace people of other religions but not entirely sure about his own religious feelings) and how difficult it is to break through their walls to just talk to them about Christianity because they think everyone's a hypocrite but at the same time . . . they're wanting to embrace ethnicity. It's not so much a racial thing as a social sector thing but it's not necessarily well-defined, as Carrie noted.

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  9. Care,

    Hahaha! Tiddlypom was on the tip of my brain, yesterday, I swear. Thanks. :)

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  10. I am also one of those 'liberal wackos' who do not understand evangelicals and fundamentalists at all. A book you might enjoy is I'm Fine with God...It's Christians I Can't Stand by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz. The authors are Christian, but discuss the issues they have with those who are so far right that they have fallen off the map. I enjoyed it, and like I said, I am one of those 'liberal wackos'. :)

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  11. Rebecca,

    I'll look that book up right now. It sounds like my thing. Yeah, you and I . . . liberal wackos. If Rush Limbaugh is the sane one, I'm fine with being wacko. :)

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