"I also believe that celebrating another culture will enrich your life. Learning about another culture will teach you much about your own."
"You cannot fully understand your own culture unless you understand others."
"At the same time, you will see the differences between your culture and African-American culture as unique gifts from God to make this city a beautiful place to live and work."
Cultural engagement is closely related to cultural diversity, diversity training, and multiculturalism. As much as Jason Janz may say cultural engagement looks for similarities, it has long been about finding and accepting the differences. At least you better accept the differences or there will be "racial tension." Not to endorse the Ayn Rand Institute, but it has given a very good definition of multiculturalism and reflects what I have heard it's chief spokemen to mean when they talk about celebrating and learning another culture:
In brief, multiculturalism is the view that all cultures, from that of a spirits-worshiping tribe to that of an advanced industrial civilization, are equal in value.
Jason Janz may not believe multiculturalism, but I think he is an intelligent man, so I think he knows what he is saying when he writes this piece for the promotion of this African-American celebration that his church (if it is a church as of yet) is sponsoring (and every church that is sponsoring him and his church). Just like him, I too would show up to the event, except with a handful of tracts to pass to the participants, welcoming them to the one and only Jesus Christ (a real, historic, and Jewish Person). We did the same thing at the Sikh parade in our area, that "celebrated" their "peace-loving" qualities.
Our church is racially diverse. The school that we operate is racially diverse. In our church, whites, Euros, or whatever you want to call them, are probably in the minority. In our school, caucasians make up 25% or less. We got that way by not trying to be that way. We got that way by not caring about it. We are not culturally diverse. We have and promote one culture. We believe that all culture is inferior to it and that is Godly Culture or Biblical Culture. Everything is to be judged by the Bible. The way to become racially diverse is by racial ambivalence. If you try to become racially diverse, you will conform to the world system. His article smacks of liberalism. The way to become racially diverse is to be no respecter of persons in your preaching of the gospel. God has one way of salvation and it is the same for every one. Sanctification is the same for every race too. So that covers everything.
What is black culture anyway? Is black culture really African culture? Aren't white and black just colors? Aren't we just talking about pigmentation? We have plenty of Eritreans and Ethiopians and Kenyans among American blacks in our school. We have had a South African in our school who was an African American. He was white. Our church has a black man from Paris, France, a black family from Eritrea, another from Kenya, and then several from the United States. I've found that the "culture" of black America is much different than that of black Africans who live in America. Some of what we're talking about with "black culture" isn't something that a Christian, black, red, yellow, or white, should appreciate, accept, or even tolerate. A lot of popular American culture is trash that every believer should reject.
No human culture has anything to contribute to our learning and understanding. Most of it is neutral and the rest of it is bad. Jason Janz may say that he knows that, but if he did, then he would also be saying that he is merely pandering to multiculturalists and black people who are tuned into multiculturalism in many cases for political gain. There are plenty of black people who don't cow-tow to the multicultural way (think Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, and Walter Williams). Hip-hop is black culture, for instance, and listen to what John McWhorter says about that (click on link). The aforementioned men themselves know that you don't help black people by catering to multiculturalism. I would hope that Janz would read something like Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington or the works of Booker T. Washington (concentrate on his Sunday night talks given to Tuskegee students after they got back working in churches all day Sunday) from some good local library to see that Washington, who by far represents a Scriptural way of thinking, saw the world far differently than the W. E. B. Dubois Harvardian ideas reflected in multiculturalism.
I can see other doey-eyed young fundamentalists whose brains have been softened by the modern media picture of race relations. They want to go to the inner city to "make a difference." It isn't as though they were the first people to think about the inner city. I've gone door-to-door through the neighborhoods that black people cringe at when I mention them. I still play basketball places where I'm outnumbered racially 35 to 1. Many others have gone ahead of me to the inner city. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. You don't go anywhere with race in mind. You go with the only saving message.
To God be the glory. God isn't glorified when we tolerate unscriptural activity. Aspects of African, European, American, Indian, and Asian culture must be repudiated with no uncertain terms. The goodness of God will lead them to repentance. They believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him. Paul said that race relations broke down in Christ. Preach Christ. Forget the racial stuff. When we are reconciled to God, we reconcile to one another. And if you happen to be in a place with a lot of races, don't make a big deal of it. It doesn't mean anything once you're in Christ.
Read this speech given in 2004 about the thing that Janz is encouraging---by a former Colorado governor.