Multiethnicity is that dream, that ideal put in practice, that all of God’s people – of every tribe, tongue, and nation – are welcome and cherished in God’s kingdom. It is the hope and vision of a community of Christ followers that represent the diversity of God’s creation. It is the belief that, indeed, all men and women, are created equal and have value before God and value to the rest of the Body of Christ. It is understanding that all of who we are – our ethnicity and culture – matters to God as valuable parts of our identity. It is the vision that here, in our diverse context, we can honor, celebrate, and utilize the diversity God has given us for the sake of His Kingdom, reaching people of every ethnicity and culture.
Multiethnicity is the task of learning about ourselves and learning about others. It is the hard work of understanding what makes us tick and what makes others do the same – or different. It is the work of loving each other and working together despite our differences. It is creating safe places within the Body of Christ where people of all ethnicities can feel at home and worship God in a way that feels both natural yet stretches us to know more about a God who is Lord of all peoples. It is the work of contextualizing ministry and approach in order to reach people of all types. This includes thinking hard about how we do “fellowship”, how we evangelize, how we lead, how we care for one another. It is the task of fostering open and honest communities that can talk about race and ethnicity in a way that leads to wholeness and reconciliation.
Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.
Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or “some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life”. Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that aim mostly to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, and other things. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.
There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world’s population is affiliated with one of the five largest religion groups, namely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion. The religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion, atheists, and agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs.
Geography Body Language
Geographical research about “the body” started to develop in early 1990s when feminist geographers highlighted the ways in which bodies are important sites that enable a disruption of masculinist thought through the consideration of all matters “bodily” as important to the production of knowledge. This was initiated, in part, by the cultural turn which, as argued in Feminism and Geography: The Limits of Geographical Knowledge (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1993), allowed for scientific and positivist ways of thinking to be challenged, opening up disciplinary borders. The definition of the “the body” is often contested: it is understood as a material, fleshy, and corporeal object made up of organs, bones, and skin, but also as a social, cultural, and discursive construction that comes into social existence through relations of power and language. Geographers bring a unique spatial contribution to bodies, arguing that they are places where discourse and power relations are simultaneously mapped, embodied, and resisted, and where identities are performed and constructed. Geographers also argue that bodies are spatially contingent; in other words, the ways bodies are performed shift in and across space (and time), with readings and understandings of such embodied performances simultaneously varying spatially. Geographical work on the body has since expanded, providing rich conceptualizations of bodies and embodiment. These include identity intersections of gender, sexuality, fatness, size, shape, religion, race, ethnicity, age, class, health, and (dis)abilities. It also includes bodies in their everyday spaces such as the street, home, and places of work; some recent work has started to think about bodies as central to geopolitics at multiple scales. Other work has engaged with the messy materiality of bodies that have biological and physiological requirements and productions in the context of geographies of Consumption and bodily fluids.
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