When I was at the University of Waterloo studying Mathematics, there were students and professors of all different nationalities, different skin colours, speaking different languages. No one seemed to notice that, however. It was the usual scene in the hallways and classrooms of the Mathematics and Computer building. I only started noticing more of the diversity among the university population when I moved off campus as a graduate student. In my building, I would meet neighbours in the elevator. They would see this Asian girl and assumed that I might not know English. I didn’t blame them. Back then, the Oriental population in town was not that big, especially when we excluded those on the university campus. Of course, the scene has changed drastically in the last few decades, first with the expansion of RIM (now Blackberry) and recently as the hub for startups and software companies.
The point is that, at the university, we were studying Mathematics, which to a lot of people, translated to “truths”. In Mathematics, one logical conclusion leads to another logical conclusion, no expression of personal interpretation is involved. Therefore, there is no chance of offending anyone’s cultural background or tradition, and there is no chance of breaking expectations as there were no expectations other than telling the truth! The language that all mathematicians use in their discussions on any mathematical topic is unified by a set of symbols and numbers. Mathematicians know that the relationships among mathematical structures are there to be “discovered”, and not “created.” We may make use of properties of certain mathematical structures to create systems that we may use for our advantage in our daily lives, but we do not actually create these basic relationships. We put labels on them with our numbers and symbols and we describe them with operations like addition and subtraction. This studying of the truth, the seeking of the truth, allows the mathematics community to embrace diversity among themselves.
Now, the question that we ought to ask ourselves as Christians is: If we all believe in the same God whom we call the “Truth”, and that our churches all help us to seek God and build our relationships in “The Truth”, why would it be difficult for some of us and our churches to embrace our diversity?
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