Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that the most segregated hour in America was Sunday morning worship. I am reminded again of that reality thanks to Martin Luther King Day in the USA this past Monday. Sadly, King’s observation is still probably true today. Churches in North America are still highly segregated according to ethnicity – not just black and white but also, Chinese, Koreans, Philipinos, Latinos, Caribbean, etc. Unlike in the past, however, churches today self-segregate along these ethnic lines. Why? There are a variety of reasons (racism probably being one) but one popular justification is the Homogenous Unit Principle or the HUP. Recently, I wrote a guest editorial denouncing the HUP. This was published in Christian Courier, Dec. 27, 2010 issue. Below is what I wrote:
I am not a heavy metal fan. Normally, I don’t listen to heavy metal music. But inspired by John Van Sloten’s book, The Day Metallica Came to Church: Searching for the Everywhere God in Everything (Square Inch, 2010), my York students and I decided to dialogue on the topic of music in one of our Thursday night “Theology over Pizza” sessions. Students were invited to share some of their favourite music pieces – whatever genre – and share a little of why they liked that music, and how it may touch them on a spiritual level.