This past Sunday, my church unveiled three new works of art by Toni Ruppert, a series based on three words: Faith, Family, and Worship.
The dedication ceremony was simple—lasting no more than 10 minutes between our morning services. But it was packed with meaning, and I’m only now beginning to unpack it.
My church, Living Springs, is a diverse collection of people. We represent a broad spectrum of ages, cultures, abilities, income levels, religious backgrounds, spiritual gifts, and family situations. This diversity is the fruit of a long-time commitment to being “intentionally inclusive” (one of our core values). Last Sunday, being so close to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, gave us opportunity to celebrate our cultural diversity in particular, and the unveiling of Toni’s paintings was a special part of that celebration. You can see Toni’s work in the video below:
But the art of diversity is not just a one-day celebration at Living Springs. It’s a journey, an adventure, a fragile, hope-filled, daily decision. For example, this Saturday, January 23, Living Springs will offer itself as a safe place to explore the topic of racism. Blacks, whites, Latinos, and other ethnicities from Glenwood, Homewood, Lansing, South Holland, Chicago Heights, and surrounding communities will gather to view the first installment of “Race: The Power of an Illusion,” a powerful video series produced by California Newsreel.
This is not the first time Living Springs has shown this video series and invited different cultures to dialogue about it together. Two years ago approximately 40 people came out on three Monday nights to view and discuss it. More recently, last November, Living Springs hosted a day-long “Joining the Multi-Cultural Journey” workshop, at which clips from “Race” were shown. In one case, a white man felt the need to ask forgiveness; in the other, a white man walked out, offended.
What will happen this Saturday, I’m not sure. I hold no illusions about the art of diversity! But I’m glad to be part of a church that is willing to keep learning and keep inviting others to share life’s colorful, complicated journey.
If you are familiar with Toni Ruppert’s art, I’d love it if you would post a comment below about what her three new Living Springs pieces say to you.
And if you attend the video/discussion event this Saturday, I’d love it if you would come back to this blog and post your opinion about the interactions. Is Living Springs really a safe place to talk honestly about race? Or are we promoting an illusion?