an enclosed space for producing reverberation of sound
We are all familiar with this term. A person who is said to live in an echo chamber is a person who surrounds himself or herself with an “enclosed” circle of influencers who “produce reverberation” of ideology, theology, politics, or any other realm of life.
Echo chambers aren’t created in a vacuum. We create them for ourselves and they are created for us. We create our own echo chambers when we choose only to read the message boards of our favorite sports teams, only to listen to sermons by pastors in our denomination, and only to watch the news outlets that promote our political ideology. On the other hand, echo chambers are created for us when we attend schools and universities that fail to pass the mic to voices less often heard, when we are born into ethnically and socioeconomically segregated neighborhoods, and when our churches fail to acknowledge the existence of other churches that aren’t like us, ethnically, socioeconomically, or culturally.
This last scenario is not only the most significant. It is also the most tragic. When our churches lack diversity, we live in ecclesiastical echo chambers. When our churches lack ethnic, generational, cultural, and even, to a certain extent, theological diversity, we perpetuate the blind spots that keep us from engaging our culture in any significant measure.
As the bride and body of Christ, this is something we simply cannot afford.
Diversity, over against the ecclesiastical echo chamber many of us live in, provides perspective. Generational diversity causes the young to respect the old and the old to stop complaining about “kids these days.” Cultural diversity causes the hipster-twenty-something to raise keep one hand raised in worship, while using the other to hold the hymnal. Ethnic diversity causes the culturally privileged in our communities to share the stage – and the pulpit – with those who haven’t been given the spotlight. It causes the culturally dominant racial group to bear the burdens of those mistreating, while also causing the oppressed to extend the grace of the Lord to those who have historically played the role of oppressor.
Brothers and sisters, we don’t have the option to live without this kind of community. Ecclesiastical echo chambers are not an option. The Church of Jesus Christ must pursue diversity, that the Holy Spirit might remove our blind spots, for the sake of our sanctification, for the sake of our unity, and for the sake of God’s glory.
This is part 2 of a 3 part series. You can view parts 1 and 3 by clicking on the links below.