Chaplaincy | Diversity and the guiding principle of love

Chaplaincy | Diversity and the guiding principle of love

One of the things I love about our school is its multicultural student body.

In any given classroom, there will likely be a range of different languages, different cultural traditions, different religious traditions, different life experiences, and the different personalities, opinions, and interests attached to each of these.

The diversity among our students makes Trinity an interesting and exciting place to be, but there’s no question it can also bring its fair share of complications.

After all, when we spend the majority of the week occupying the same space, the differences we bring can cause friction, tension, misunderstandings, conflict, and, at times, hostility.

So how do we make it work? How do we, as people who are vastly different from one another, build a community without constantly arguing, fighting, and hating each other? How do we pursue a common life together?

There are a few ways we could go about it.

We could institute a whole bunch of rules and regulations and insist that anyone wishing to be a part of our community must adhere to them – or else!

We could preach tolerance and emphasise that the person who may be different to us has just as much of a right to be here as we do, so we should just let them be.

The problem is, neither of these strategies encourages engagement or interaction with other people. There are always ways to get around rules, and tolerating someone doesn’t require you to talk to them or even be interested in them.

Back in the first century, there were a group of Christians squabbling over their differences. To them, the Apostle Paul wrote these famous words:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

In Christian faith, love is the number one guiding principle for life and relationships, because God himself is love, as demonstrated in the life of Jesus – a life lived among us and ultimately given for us.

Love, not tolerance, is the strategy for dealing with difference, because whilst tolerance says, “I’m willing to let you be, but I’m not going to go out of my way for you”, love says, “You are important to me and I’m willing to go out of my way for you”.

Here at Trinity, there are structured channels for the students to love and serve those around them, but in reality, the majority of opportunities are informal, and come to us ‘in the moment’.

We encourage our students to go out of their way for others, in the hope that by fostering a community of love, they will grow to become people who are not just compliant, and not just tolerant, but loving.

For as the Apostle Paul says, without love, we are nothing.

Nathan Lee | Assistant Chaplain, Senior School

Share this post