Friday, May 13, 2016

I Am Diversity

By Jon Dunnemann

My grandparents were Christians. Out of a sense of convenience, duty, familiarity, love, really all of these things and the utmost respect for who they are and their wealth of wisdom in the world, early on I depended upon and trusted them to lovingly shape me as a Christian, as a youth, and as a person.

Had I been born in Israel I think that I would have been quite happy to be a Jew, if Afghanistan a Muslim, or perhaps Hindu if I had been born in India. Regardless, I would like to think that I would still have wanted more than anything to enjoy the customs, dishes, history, humor, rituals, sacred music, and rich traditions and wisdom of everyone around me. Such was the case for me growing up in Caldwell, New Jersey.

Within my own family I am a Christian. Yet, within the larger context of the different families with which I have lived and been nurtured, the neighborhoods in which I have lived, along with the various countries to which I have traveled I know that I have become so much more.

While I resemble an African American, I am also Native American, White American, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Buddhist, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Hasidim, Muslim, straight, gay, republican, democrat and independent. I am a product of NJ DFYS, foster families, the goodwill of many, and out of immense gratitude I choose to be a strong advocate for all that is defined as decent, just, kind, peaceful, pure, and truthful and sincere in all of us.

Therefore, I can never again be just one thing for this is not my pedigree. Rather, I am diversity, inclusion, love, tolerance, and respect in its fullness. And from my vantage point, I would not have it any other way. For I have seen God's presence in all of creation and my life has been immensely blessed by a broad community of belonging and experience. This probably best explains why I feel called to work in the world in a way that expresses my deepest gratitude for all that I have been given and to do so without both man-made and unnecessary limits.