Stratification in Christ's kingdom?

Level Sets

Colossians 3:10--11 NIV

...and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Romans 12: 6--8 NIV

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

In the three-dimensional images you see above, the location of the hills and valleys are easy to see. Not quite as easy to see in the diagram are the saddle points that lay diagonally between two valleys and two hills. To better understand the characteristics of a function, students use level sets, a collection of two-dimensional graphs which gives detail about slices of the function using regularly spaced heights. At left is a portion of the level sets for the lumpy surface above. The hills and the valleys in the level set plot are at the centers of the concentric "circles" while saddle points occur at the intersection of the boundary lines.

This idea of grouping the function input values by output values is a little like the stratification we see daily in human culture. There are those who are perceived to be at the highest level (e.g., Michael Jordan, Queen Elizabeth II) and those who we see at the bottom of the deepest valleys (e.g., death-row inmates, Al Qaeda terrorists). However, we learn in Colossians 3:10--11 that in Christ there is no such ranking. "Here there is no Greek or Jew, ." and all Christians must "put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." However, Christians are not clones of each other. Each is given a different configuration of spiritual gifts. In this type of stratification, we rejoice in the distinctive service we can provide for God's kingdom.