Monday, July 7, 2008

The Big Sort

I've often said one of the reasons I love living in smaller towns like Cokato is that we have, in church and community, more diversity than what one might first expect. A book by Bill Bishop called _The Big Sort_ talks about how how people cluster into communities of like mindedness. I think our church has quite a bit of diversity in it, and I find that quite invigorating. A question, however, is whether can talk together about important things? I found an NPR radio show on this subject fascinating. A link is here.


  1. Me again. I found that exerpt very interesting. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a relative a couple of years ago. They live in a large midwestern city. She preferred to live in a city, she said, because it gave her more freedom to pick and choose who her children came in contact with. People living in rural communities don't have that option - their kids are exposed to everyone, even the undesirable.

    Whereas I believe it is human nature to gravitate to people who share our belief systems, heritage and world view (hence the many "cliques" we see in even small communities) what a shame it is if we can't share who we are with each other. My beliefs are often honed and refined by hearing other views and expressing my own. Sometimes when you hear it out loud, it sounds different.

    I do a lot of advertising with local newspapers in my job. Our new ad rep at the Litchfield paper is an active democrat and aspires to hold office one day. I am a moderate republican with conservative leanings (mostly my husband's leanings :-)) and we just love it when an ad is due and we get a chance to debate our political views. Although we have one rule - no one is to take offense. We seek not to be right, but only to get out beliefs out there. What fun! I so respect him and if I weren't republican, I'd vote for him!

    Religious beliefs are trickier for me. I think we all believe the Holy Spirit leads us into truth. So when someone else expresses another view, it's harder not to let that get personal. I learned that lesson the hard way with my brother, a United Church of Christ Stephen Minister. To this day, we find it difficult to discuss our beliefs with each other because of one disagreement over the homosexuality issue.

    I would dearly love to talk to him about my faith, and I pray for healing of that relationship.


  2. I really appreciate that SOMEONE is writing to me! Thank you, Becky! You wrote "what a shame it is if we can't share who we are with each other." I'm writing this blog, and hoping for comments, so we can share together. As far as "religious" conversations go, it's important for me that we begin somewhere with something in common, instead of just sharing "opinions" we come up with out of our own heads. And the "somewhere" we need to start is the Word of God made flesh, Jesus Christ, who is THE revelation of God in this world, and the Word of God preached for judgment/repentance and forgiveness/salvation and, thirdly, the Word of God revealed in the Holy Scriptures. We don't "make it up as we go along." We begin with what God has revealed.

  3. Hello fellow bloggers,
    I find this to be a very interesting topic. This "clustering" is not a new phenomonon to the world. Immigrants have been settling in their own little "colonies" based strictly on ethnicity, religion, heritage for a very long time (see Pastor Steve's blog entry on the Finnish as one example). It seems very natural to do that. What I find interesting is how do these people/we react when an "outsider" moves in to our little safe haven? Do we accept them for what they are or do we try to mold them into what we want them to be? Or just simply ignore them because they are not one of us, because it's easier? Do we talk about religion or do we wait until we "know them better"?
    I pray that we all work on focusing on what matters, Jesus Christ and spreading His message to everyone, including "outsiders". I also pray that someday it will be as easy me for to talk to people about Jesus as it is for me talk to them about last nights football game..


  4. Hey ML - MIKE! Good to know who you are, brother! Thanks for reading and occasionally sending a note back! Something that I've discovered is that Cokato isn't such a "safe haven" after all.