Tulips are more beautiful than flowers. Mexico is not just a country. I would rather have a Diet Coke than a soft drink. Wilshire tells you more about the faith community I serve than Baptist or Church. Ask me about Cameron, Rhett and Jillian and you’ll know whether I love children.

God could have made one apple, but instead gave us McIntosh, Braeburn, Fuji, Rome, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, and even a little green one that won’t grow in Indianapolis because it doesn’t rain there in the summertime (or something like that). Why should we have one breed of dog? Or one color? Or one human being?

Iowan Grant Wood, painter of the gaunt, pitchforked farmer and his sturdy wife in American Gothic, said no artist ought to try to make a painting that might appeal to everyone. One must always start close to home and let it be judged regional or national or international if it appeals broadly to the human spirit.

The poet W.H. Auden said that good poetry is like good cheese, local but prized everywhere. This thing is better than something.

No one likes to be stereotyped. Don’t tell me how I am because I am a man. Most blondes don’t resemble the blondes in blonde jokes. Some Baptists dance.

Even God doesn’t seem comfortable with being a generic divinity. The Bible gets specific. God is the one who got Israel out of Egypt and Jesus out of the grave. God is the one who acts this way and not that way. Which is often not what we expect.

We each have a notion of what a god might be, but we don’t really know God unless and until we accept God’s self-revelation to us. God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!). God is the Father of Jesus Christ.

Since God refuses to be stereotyped and has made the world with rich variety, people of faith ought to celebrate diversity instead of fearing it.

Stepford wives would be boring to their husbands by day two. Cookie-cutter Chistians would make the second of them redundant. Any statement that begins, “All Jews…” or “All Muslims…” is wrong.

It’s impossible to love the world without loving the individual particulars and the particular individuals that make it the world.