In a couple of weeks, I’ll be teaching two classes in the Spanish track at David Lipscomb University’s Summer Celebration. I decided to expand on some material that I presented at a church in El Paso, talking about the different contributions that Anglos and Latinos bring to the church. (Anglo is a misnomer, I know. But it’s the most commonly used term)
The title is a phrase that’s a favorite of mine: “One Body, Two Languages.” The topic is a bit awkward in many ways; done poorly, it can misuse stereotypes and border on racism. In some places, especially in places like Florida, Texas or California, the mixing of the two groups has occurred to an extent that such discussions seem out of date. But in many parts of the country, it’s still relevant to talk about these things.
In many of our churches, the Hispanic groups find themselves in a dependent position. They often lack the resources to “pay their way” at church. (At that El Paso church I mentioned, the preacher spoke to me about the costs of maintaining the Hispanic outreach at their congregation, the “economic drag” on the church) In many cases, the leadership of the church is almost exclusively Anglo, with few Hispanic elders and deacons. The Hispanics often meet in a room that is inferior to the main auditorium where the Anglos meet. I’m generalizing, but in many churches, this is the case.
That’s why I want to talk to the Hispanics about what they have to offer. In the second session, I want to talk about what the Anglo church has to offer, besides the things mentioned above. There can be times when Hispanic groups can feel superior to the Anglo part of the congregation. The Hispanic groups may be growing more. They may have more intimate fellowship or a more active group. In places where the Anglo church is aging, Hispanic groups may be younger.
There is a need for both groups to recognize what the other has to offer.
What sort of things come to your mind? What can you see that one cultural group has to offer the other? Or do you think this discussion is completely out of place?