A Brief Review of
The Diversity Culture: Creating Conversations of Faith with Buddhist Baristas, Agnostic Students, Aging Hippies, Political Activists, and Everyone in Between.
Paperback: Kregel, 2009.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]
Reviewed By Chris Smith.
As an active member of a church community that values the practice of conversation, I was intrigued by the idea of the new book The Diversity Culture: Creating Conversations of Faith with Buddhist Baristas, Agnostic Students, Aging Hippies, Political Activists, and Everyone in Between by Matthew Raley. Although The Diversity Culture was written for a primary audience of politically and theological conservative evangelicals and thus the language Raley uses is not the same sort of theological language I would have used in addressing similar topics, its message of the importance of conversation in bearing witness to the Gospel is an essential one. Granted I am perhaps more comfortable in the “diversity culture” – urban, antiwar, environmentalist, pro-gay marriage, etc – that Raley describes than I am in his audience amidst the evangelical sub-culture. Ultimately, Raley’s message is one of peacemaking, reminding us that God loves and seeks reconciliation with all people, and as followers of Jesus, we must enter into conversations with people who are different from us, even those who we might perceive as enemies. This is a message, I believe, of the greatest importance. I hope that Raley’s work will find people in the midst of his evangelical audience that are willing to take it to heart.
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com