Real Diversity

Somewhere in the lush undergrowth of G.K. Chesterton’s essays is a delightful little piece about tolerance. In this essay, Chesterton avers that, because we crave diversity chesterton-portrait-small(the ultimate human adventure) some of us move away from our parochial towns or suburbs into the heart of a throbbing metropolis. And there, amid the smorgasbord of languages and cultures, hip deep in the goulash of hobbies, fancies and obsessions, we are able to find a group of people…exactly like ourselves. In their presence we come more and more to believe that we are the norm, and that there is something wrong with those who are not precisely like us.

If you want a real challenge, on the other hand, if you truly desire to learn tolerance, talk to the guy across the hall. Or the woman in the next cubicle. Or the couple in the front pew. Or simply sit down and wait for your family to come home!

We find the greatest diversity, the greatest challenge to our preferences and prejudices among those we do not choose to be with.

Who don’t you get? Who are you uncomfortable with? Meet them for coffee. Or tea. Or whatever weird thing they prefer. Then listen. You don’t have to agree with what they say. But listen. And try to understand. Because understanding trumps agreement any day. What are you waiting for?

The ultimate adventure awaits!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Real Diversity

  1. Nice post, but I still do not even want to try to understand Trump. Didn’t like the man’s business ethics (or lack of) way before he was president. He is going to put us into a corner that we will not be able to get out of until there is major damage.
    I have had others in my past that I did not see eye-to-eye with, and we did come to an understanding (except for 1 guy that used my disabled daughter to get me out of my job – which he was later caught stealing from the company and was sent to jail – karma!) and were able to move on. I do believe that every side has its story, I just may not agree with their story. Thanx for the thoughtful words!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The Muslims I teach English to (using the Bible as a textbook) and I usually end up with a delightful relationship. Some start with a chip on their shoulder, but it usually slides off. I have read their Qur’an to “equal the playing field” and little by little through the lessons, they read the Bible and tell me it isn’t at all what their imams had told them it was. Our relationship grows even more delightful as we discuss mutual human-nature problems we have, regardless of our mother tongue. They often invite me, their teacher, to come visit them in their country.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. YES! My old pastor used to say, “As Christians we are called to infiltrate, not isolate”. Unfortunately, often we end up isolating ourselves instead, which is sad. We become stagnant and stunt our growth when we always surround ourselves with people who think, act, and look just like us. When we step outside of our comfort zone we are more likely to grow. Loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love what your pastor said. That sums it all up, doesn’t it? I have converts to Christianity in hiding all over the Middle East. They learn Christians love them after all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It truly does sum it up pretty well, I believe! That is awesome you have converts in the Middle East, although sad (and scary) they need to hide. Bless you for your work! 🙂 nice to meet you, Katheryn! —–Christina

        Liked by 1 person

      • They talk to me because I’m just a teacher. They do not respect their countrymen who leave decent jobs and claim refugee status to go to the western world. They love their countries just like we love ours. All think their country is the best and they should. Many of them invite me to come see their country. The average person is not running away from his country. The average person is staying and loving it. And they should.


  4. dawnlizjones says:

    “Because understanding trumps agreement any day.” Perfect sum-up. Perfect. I not only agree, but I also understand…I think (I hope.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ekurie says:

    I once had an assistant who was determined to take my job. And my superiors were dead-set against it. I wish I had offered to get to know her better. Her disdain for me and bitterness overwhelmed me though.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. @vapor_sage says:

    Yes! I can have the serenity to accept a different perspective, the courage to respond with love and kindness

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rhonda says:

    Important post for these times. Thank you for the reminder to seek out those different from me. It reinforces what I learned from reading “The Faith Club”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. nancyehead says:

    Love Chesterton!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jsayles556 says:

    It’s amazing how easily we gravitate to only people like ourselves. It’s comfortable and it takes intentional movements to avoid the impulse. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great quote! “We find the greatest diversity, the greatest challenge to our preferences and prejudices among those we do not choose to be with.”

    Is that yours or Chesteron?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. mitchteemley says:

    Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:

    83 YEARS AGO, G. K. Chesterton, one of the great thinkers, writers, philosophers and wits of the 20th Century (and one of my all time heroes) passed away. Two years ago, I cited his views on diversity and family, but didn’t know the source. The source was his landmark work *Heretics.* Here’s a brief excerpt:

    “Modern writers who have suggested…that the family is a bad institution [because it] is not always very congenial. Of course, the family is a good institution because it is uncongenial. It is wholesome precisely because it contains so many divergencies and varieties. It is like a little kingdom, and, like most other little kingdoms, is generally in a state of something resembling anarchy… The men and women who, for good reasons and bad, revolt against the family, are, for good reasons and bad, simply revolting against mankind. Those who wish, rightly or wrongly, to step out of all this, do definitely wish to step into a narrower world. They are dismayed and terrified by the largeness and variety of the family. I do not say, for a moment, that the flight to this narrower life may not be the right thing for the individual…but I do say that anything is bad and artificial which tends to make these people succumb to the strange delusion that they are stepping into a world which is actually larger and more varied than their own. The best way that a man could test his readiness to encounter the common variety of mankind would be to climb down a chimney into any house at random, and get on as well as possible with the people inside. And that is essentially what each one of us did on the day that he was born.”


  12. This is such a good post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Heidi Viars says:

    I thought about this very thing tonight as I sat and had an amazingly challenging conversation with one of my adult kids. We differ in many views and opinions … but where else (if not in a loving family) can we feel safe to share them and grow together. LOVE THIS!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Niki Flow says:

    “You came into my life for a reason. Either you are a blessing or a lesson.” (Or both!) =) Great read, Mitch, and advice. I ran from my family-of-origin. It took decades to realize I was running from everything I needed to grow stronger, that these were the people who could teach me the most. Listening really is the best strategy, you’re right! Saves saying something we’ll regret later! ♥.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mary Jane says:

    Except when it’s your exes. Never meet your exes for coffee. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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