You can learn a lot about Evangelical Christianity by going into a typical Christian bookstore in a shopping mall. You'll find scores of how-to, self-help, and church growth books. I doubt you will find many books on reconciliation.
While the church definitely needs good, practical literature on helping individuals and churches grow, we must guard against replacing the gospel of reconciliation with a gospel primarily or exclusively focused on quantitative church growth. In fact, Dr. John M. Perkins prophetically confronted the Evangelical church as far back as 1982, saying that "We have substituted a gospel of church growth for a gospel of reconciliation" (See Perkins, With Justice for All, pp. 107-108). Perkins was speaking primarily of the need for churches to break down racial barriers between people of different ethnicities. With this in mind, it is a welcome sight to find churches like Willow Creek being intentional about welcoming diverse ethnicities (See "Can Megachurches Bridge the Racial Divide?" Time, January 11, 2010). There are vital signs of hope.
The gospel of reconciliation calls us out from affinity groupings based on cliques that intentionally or unintentionally exclude those who are different from us according to race, class, gender, generation, etc. Unfortunately, people don't just shop in bookstores. Many people inside and outside the church in North America view the church as "a vendor of religious services and goods" (Hunsberger, in Missional Church, p. 84); they look for churches that will "sell" them the religious goods and services that they as individuals and as individual nuclear families want, not what they ultimately need relationally as citizens of God's communal (and not commodity-) kingdom. We need to be expanded relationally, moved beyond hanging out simply with our "own kind of people," moving toward being enriched by Jesus' people from diverse backgrounds, and moving into the realization of God's kingdom.
Multi-ethnic is increasingly in, but I am afraid that it may be because many religious consumers are infatuated with multi-____ (like multi-grain, multi-vitamin); infatuation is only skin deep. It's faddish in some circles to take on board various concerns for justice, but I have witnessed how people want to talk about race matters at a forum but not embody racial justice in concrete practices in diverse community as Christ's body. I also find it hard to move beyond my comforts and preferences to engage people who look and think differently from me culturally, especially when it entails being marginalized by the dominant culture if I continue down that path.
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