"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." Mt 21:32
Whenever we fail to look at stones and people with the eyes of God, we fall into the trap of rejecting them because they don't fit our notion of perfection or beauty. What a shame and what a loss. Not only do we demean and objectify things and people who are "different," we expose ourselves as prejudiced and small minded.
We have no real idea what Jesus looked like, but we do know that he has been portrayed as a member of every race, ethnic group and culture, and while some may want to insist that he should always be a middle eastern Jew, the vast majority of believers realize that Jesus is beyond any one culture or background. In other words, we need to find the Christ everywhere and in every person, especially the poor.
This is not to say that difference doesn't matter. When we move outside our comfort zone culturally and socially there is always a level of disorientation, and while this is disconcerting we need to work our way through it in order to see and meet people where they are. Simply put, while inculturation is painful, when it is embraced it becomes a gift that opens us to a God who is beyond every culture.
Today, acknowledge your discomfort with difference.
Have you had a cross cultural experience that benefited you and helped shape your faith?