Diversity Revealed and Understood

Diversity appears to be the concept of the future. Churches, universities and jobs are now starting to express the need for diversification.  Everyone is purporting a concern for equality and equity in those particular areas. Whether a slick marketing scheme or genuine concern for humanity, diversity posits as a major reassertion into many of the institutions as we know them today.

Diversity is needed in some cases and unnecessary in others. If your demographics dictate such an approach then, yes, diversity is a needed approach. But, if you demographics are predominate in a certain ethnicity then diversity may not be as high on your list of concerns. The error lies in the effort of trying to diversify just for the sake of saying you are diverse. Dr. Anthony Bradley details this fact on his facebook page

Whoever the evangelical church planting guru is misleading white church planters who grew up the suburbs listening to rap music (but have no black friends) into thinking that hiring “a black guy” on staff at their “city” church will bring tons of black people needs to stop. That will not “work.” Anyone who respects black culture & has any cultural intelligence can explain how utterly irrational that is as an idea. And I wish black guys would not be so easily seduced with delusions of “we’re glad you’re here.” 20 years, same convo, doesn’t “work,” but I’m the crazy one.

If an institution/church is legitimately and genuinely open to diversity it will come out in its approach to others. Humanity is sensitive enough to authentic love and appreciation that it can tell the difference.

For months, I wrestled with trying to find a model for true diversity. I have seen many churches that have many different people groups collectively involved with their service. I see colleges reaching out to more to diverse groups to build their diverse community. Companies are slowly coming around to the notion of diversity but that is a road less traveled by many, for numerous reasons. Many of these folks are doing it and doing well, I may add.

I had a defining moment as I watch how this young man in Colorado decimated lives in a movie theater. The entire concept of diversity was revealed in a looming fashion.

“I saw people helping other people.”

Color, socio-economic, sex or sexual orientation did not matter; all that mattered was helping your fellow brother of sister get through this tragedy. People were going out of their way to assist whoever needed help.

It appears that most respond to tragedy as humans but live their everyday lives as “particulars”-life in our own world with our own people. We get caught up in the mundane and wrestle with the profound concept of being authentically human. As we react and respond to this horrible tragedy, let us be mindful. May we pray for the families of this madness as they try to piece together the fragments that are left from this scene.

2 thoughts on “Diversity Revealed and Understood

  1. Brian,
    A person can always sniff out the true reason behind an entity’s campaign for diversity. However, I cannot help but wonder why black people are so “offended” by the predominately white Church’s efforts of diversity, but not a Fortune 500 company’s efforts, even though many times both entities use the same approach (hiring the “token” black guy or gal)…

    We’ve had the discussion before about whether or not diversification of churches is necessary (and you know my opinion is that it is very necessary in diverse communities as the Church should reflect the community that it’s in). I totally agree with your statement, “If an institution/church is legitimately and genuinely open to diversity it will come out in its approach to others,” However, I do believe there are churches who genuinely desire to be more naturally (as opposed to forced) diverse, yet they just don’t have the knowledge, cultural background, or experience to go about doing it. And that is where people like me come in–people who are willing to break down the divide and teach others how to genuinely accept the culture that you bring to the table. I look at where God has brought me from (an all black, poverty stricken neighborhood in New Orleans, LA) to where he has placed me (a predominately white community where we are the only black family in our entire neighborhood–which we did not even have a clue about when we moved here). There must be something to that, and I seek the Lord often for His plan for us in that regard. I don’t have a problem bearing with my white brothers and sisters and teaching them how to relate to me as black woman from black culture. I think the responsibility lies in both the Church as well as the “diverse parishioner” to meet each other half way, guided by love, and live life together genuinely enough that the teaching and learning of each other’s cultures is eminent.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with, “The error lies in the effort of trying to diversify just for the sake of saying you are diverse.” I think the Church should have the mind to diversify because it represents oneness in Christ and is a reflection of his acceptance of all of us (who are in Him)–regardless of background or culture.

    1. I think your response provides another answer that we must wrestle with as well. Everyone must take responsibility to bring diversity to our lives or just to be humans who treat others with love..

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