Category Archives: diversity

Diversity or Reversity?

american diversity

DIVERSITY?

Unleashing the Power of Our Diversity”. That’s the slogan used by some dear friends of mine, to promote their course for diversity education. I suspect that it also describes what many in corporate America hope they’re getting with their investment in diversity education, though the primary motivation for this investment still seems to be avoiding discrimination-related litigation. Sadly, though diversity has been increasingly emphasized in recent decades, this latter-mentioned attitude reflects, perhaps in most cases, the ongoing misapplication of the term “diversity”.

MISAPPLICATION

Just within the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen two glaring examples of this misapplication at the national level. One is the case of Brendan Eich being forced to step down from his position as CEO of Mozilla because he donated $1,000 to back California’s Proposition 8, a 2008 referendum to amend California’s constitution to define marriage as relationship between a man and a woman. And, on the heels of this event, came the news of Attorney General Eric Holder very publicly implying racism, in that both he and President Obama had been mistreated by Congress.

brendan-eichWhen Brendan Eich was forced out at Mozilla, it was the culmination of an effort that began in 2012, with the L.A. Times publishing a 2,000 page list of over 100,000 donors who had supported California’s Proposition 8. At first, when Eich’s name was found on the list, there was some social media outcry. But, when those who were fussing over this stopped to consider that this was the same Eich who was responsible for creating and promoting a most successful open, collaborative, and inclusive tech firm and that he hadn’t allowed his personal views on same-sex marriage to impact this in any way, the clamor died down. That is, until Mozilla’s board named Eich, then CTO, as the company’s new CEO. At that point, the outcry resumed with overwhelming fervor. The misapplication of the term “diversity” in this instance and its resulting mayhem were summed up well in an article, entitled The Truth Behind Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich’s Demise, that said:

“Some (Mozilla) employees revolted and openly called for him to step down. A dating site called for a boycott of (Mozilla’s) Firefox. And the way some in the media grilled Eich – hounding him to publicly recant his opposition to gay marriage and throwing around words like racist – you’d think the guy wanted to bring back Jim Crow laws or something.

Funny thing is, fanatical activists never see the hypocrisy in their own actions. Politically correct zealots that march to the diversity drumbeat are only inclusive of those who agree with their own groupthink. They’re only interested in being collaborative within their own hive collective.

Never mind that Eich helped to create the hive and its culture. Once he was tainted with the stench of a different viewpoint – an unaccepted viewpoint – the hive turned on him and brutally attacked him as an outsider.”

Eric HolderThe case involving Attorney General Eric Holder stemmed from a speech he made at a meeting of the National Action Network, a group founded by Al Sharpton. According to an ABC News report, entitled Holder Rips “Unwarranted, Ugly” Congress, a heated Holder went a little off-script, as he was lauding Sharpton’s organization’s efforts to advance racial equality, when he said:

“Forget about me [specifically]. Look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee,” Holder told the crowd. “What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”

On Wednesday, with a finger raised, Holder told the crowd in New York that his tenure as attorney general has been “defined by significant strides … even in the face of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity.”

No doubt, the Republican Majority Congress has severely challenged our current Democrat President and his appointee, Eric Holder. Holder’s testy back-and-forth with Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX), when the Attorney General was recently testifying before a House panel, was a clear example of this. However, there is no basis for the implication that the treatment received by Holder was the result of racism. And, in fact, there is no basis for Holder’s statement that he and the President have been treated more harshly by Congress than any of their predecessors. It’s really just another instance where a minority person, in this case an African-American, claims mistreatment due to their minority status when, in fact, what they’re demanding is favorable treatment due to their minority status. Here too, the misapplication of the term “diversity” is summed up well in a statement from the previously mentioned article on Brendan Eich, when it said:

“Funny thing is, fanatical activists never see the hypocrisy in their own actions. Politically correct zealots that march to the diversity drumbeat are only inclusive of those who agree with their own groupthink. They’re only interested in being collaborative within their own hive collective.”

REVERSITY?! Continue reading

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Filed under America’s founding ideals, diversity, race, same-sex marriage

Our Goal is Not Diversity; It’s Love

By: Trevin Wax

Cross-Posted From: KINGDOM PEOPLE - THE GOSPEL COALITION

trillia-newbell-unitedI’m thrilled to have Trillia Newbell on the blog today. Her writing has been published in numerous places including the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Desiring God, True Woman, The Resurgence, and The Gospel Coalition. She currently is the consultant on Women’s Initiatives for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention and the Lead Editor of Karis, the women’s channel for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Trillia is the author of United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity, so today she and I discuss what diversity looks like within the church and why ethnic and cultural diversity in and of itself should not be the goal to which Christians aspire.

Trevin Wax: Your book begins reflectively, first with a celebration of our society’s move toward integration in various aspects of public life, and then with a lament that “separate but equal” continues to exist in our churches. What are some reasons the church’s strides toward ethnic integration have been so slow?

Trillia Newbell: This is something I continue to explore. I spend a chapter in United dedicated to the difficulties most likely associated with the pursuit of diversity. The most obvious hindrance could be a sin of partiality.

James addresses our potential to gravitate towards those we believe are superior or that we would prefer above others (James 2:1-13). He is addressing a preference for the rich over the poor but I believe we can struggle with this tendency as it relates to ethnic diversity as well. We can simply prefer those more culturally like us to the extent of isolating those who are not. So, as a result we have homogenous churches because we aren’t relating to others outside of our own ethnic groups.

As far as other reasons, our history of racial tensions in the United States definitely plays a role. There’s an element of trust and comfortableness that must be established in any congregation and we are still working to apply the gospel to this issue relationally.

In regards to history, churches that have been long established may have a difficult time building diversity if they have been historically homogenous. Other reasons might be: church location, city demographics, and specific neighborhood demographics.

Finally, we might simply be complacent. It takes effort to reach out to neighbors, evangelize, and exercise hospitality.

Trevin Wax: I love how this book includes real-life examples of friendships you’ve developed across ethnic lines. You talk about your friendship with Amy (white) and Lillian (Chinese), and why your friends’ diverse backgrounds and experiences are one of the best parts of your friendship. Why do many Christians assume that it’s best to be “color-blind” rather than celebrate the richness of cultural variety God has given us?

Trillia Newbell: I think people use the term color-blind as a way to say “I’m not a racist.” They may want others to feel welcomed by them. The problem is, unless you are truly color-blind you do see color. What I think people ought to say instead is that they don’t differentiate or discriminate based on ethnicity.

God created us all with a variety of shades and backgrounds. We can celebrate this rather than shying away from it. We are his and his creation. This is a good thing. So I’d encourage us that we don’t need to say we are color-blind and instead get to know the unique ways the Lord has made each of us.

Trevin Wax: One of the most memorable parts of your book is when you say the “diversity” in general terms isn’t what we are supposed to pursue. It’s love. Explain what you mean by this.

Trillia Newbell: I’m so glad that you picked that up, Trevin.  It is the only real motivation for a pursuit of diversity. What I mean is, it would grieve me for the church to pick up yet another trend. Building diversity for diversity sake isn’t the aim of United.

Diversity is about love because diversity is about people. Jesus died for the Church (people). God sent His Son because He loved the world. A Christian approach to diversity is about getting to know and welcoming in brother and sisters in Christ, made in the image of God. So, to put the pursuit of diversity into action requires that we die to self and love our neighbors as ourselves.

Diversity has been made into a political term. But when Christians pursue diversity, it is (or should be) out of a desire to show the love of Christ to others. The gospel compels us to love others and it is the gospel that breaks racial barriers. We are much more the same in Christ than we could ever be different.

Trevin Wax: There are plenty of pastors who read books and interviews like this and say, “Yes, I want my church to be more diverse, but I have no idea where to start!” A recent study from LifeWay Research found 83% of pastors said every church should strive for racial diversity, but only 13% say they actually had a diverse congregation. It’s not as easy as just “welcoming” other ethnicities into a church that is predominantly one culture.

What are some practical things a pastor can do to begin to move his church in this direction, taking into consideration that it’s a long and arduous struggle that will not happen overnight?

Trillia Newbell: This is a great question and one I have received several times. I want to start by saying that I’m glad you acknowledge that it may not be easy. I have spoken with pastors who have had an easier time because they started their church on the onset with a mission to be multiethnic. But most pastors, it seems, develop a desire for diversity after a few years in ministry.

I’m currently running a series on my site, TrilliaNewbell.com, to assist pastors who desire to pursue diversity but don’t know where to start. I’ve asked other pastors to share their unique experiences and perspectives to equip pastors and congregations as they seek to implement strategies.

With that said, a few ways that pastors might begin to pursue diversity would be:

Develop a diverse staff
Share about a theology of race and diversity from the pulpit
Cultivate a love for all nations, tribes and tongues
Begin to invite others into your home
If you don’t have a diverse staff for various reasons, invite speakers that are diverse.
This only scratches the surface but perhaps it will inspire some. I also spend time in United addressing some of the hindrances to the pursuit of diversity. I hope, though, that pastors would take a look at my short series. You never know what the Lord could do if you try. He is faithful.

Trevin Wax: What do you hope your book will accomplish in the church’s ongoing discussion of how best to display our unity in the gospel?

Trillia Newbell: I’m praying that we would no longer fear the conversation. I wanted to make the tough discussion about race and diversity accessible to anyone. Perhaps reading about the experience of another person will help also bring the issue into light. If even a few people begin to ask questions and open up with their friends, I think that would be encouraging and worth the effort to write the book.

I pray United will inspire people to pursue diversity through friendships—it’s doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it. And I hope that for the person who has never considered how the gospel unites and transforms racial divide, that it would cast a vision for the beauty of diversity in the church and all of life. New convictions, greater awareness, wonderful friendships…that would be amazing.

And finally, local churches catching a vision and beginning to reflect that Last Day when all nations will be rejoicing together.

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Sizing People Up

mlk-content-character

A few months ago, I heard Pastor Dave Rolph start his Sunday morning teaching on Matthew 7-1:6 with an anecdote about people watching. Comments in his opening remarks included: “People watching. It’s fun. It’s really easy to read people and categorize them. But sometimes you can be really wrong.” To illustrate this, he told the following story:

One Sunday morning, when he was an Assistant Pastor at another church and he was with a group of Pastors who had gathered to count the Offering, he started talking about, Pastor Don, a widower on staff who had a new girlfriend. Other Pastors talked about how beautiful she was but Dave said, “Yeah, you know, but there’s something weird about her. The way she looks at you is kind of strange. You ever notice they always sit on the front row, like they just want to be seen? But the creepiest thing is, you guys, if you notice, when you’re up there praying at the pulpit, she starts to bow her head and then she just stares at you. She’s like obsessed with you the whole time you’re praying and then, right at the end of the prayer, she bows her head like she had her head bowed the whole time. That’s just weird.” Then, a couple of the other Pastors joined in agreement, saying, “Yeah, that’s strange!” Shortly after that, Pastor Don arrived to help with the counting. Of course, the other Pastors changed the subject and as they did that, Don mentioned, “My girlfriend, Leslie, because she’s deaf, …” With that, of course, the gossiping Pastors realized, as Pastor Dave said, “She sits on the front row because she reads lips! She stares at you while you’re praying because she’s reading your lips and she looks kind of funny because she’s just intently reading what it is that you’re trying to say.” Continue reading

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All Are Precious In His Sight

Barbara Boyle's 3B Class - Warren Elementary - 1955-56

LIVE IN HARMONY

This past week, I got to spend a little time with a First Grade Teacher who is also one of my very favorite people. She was teaching our class to join her class in singing and signing a song called The World Is A Rainbow. This was in preparation for an assembly that, I assumed, was related to the upcoming Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Although it would be an oversimplification (and somewhat outdated) for me to say that her purpose in this was to teach racial harmony, that was certainly a part of what she had in mind.

My first lesson in racial harmony came when I was First-Grade-aged or younger and it took place in church, not in school. Then, the song we sang was entitled Jesus Loves The Little Children. As I thought of these differences in experiences between the kids of today and the kids of my day, that led me to consider the ramifications.

ALL THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD?! Continue reading

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We The Purple

NYPD Ball CapThis past Wednesday, I wore a black ball cap that has NYPD embroidered in large white letters on its front. In smaller white letters, 9-11-01 is embroidered on its back. I bought the cap during the week following that 9/11 at a Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa memorial service. I’ve made it a point to wear it on every 9/11 since then. I guess it’s sort of my Ebenezer to raise, to honor those who lost their lives on that tragic day in American history. I’m pleased to observe that it seems I’m not yet alone in paying this sort of tribute. However, I’m sorry to say it seems that we’ve all but lost a very important gain we realized through our great loss. It was rediscovering the strength of our being One Nation, Under God. Sadly and maybe even more tragically than 9/11 itself,we have failed to cling to and nurture what we gained on9-12-01.

For me, the apparent prospects for gain were symbolized by seeing President (R) Bush and Senator (D) Daschle hug, as the President arrived to address a joint session of Congress, shortly after the 9/11 tragedy. However, in an article entitled The President Bush/Senator Daschle Hug – 7 Years Later, I lamented that our nation was letting that prospective gain slip through its fingers. Instead, for the most part, we’ve returned to the course that political polar-opposites, Bob Beckel and Cal Thomas warned us against in their co-authored book, Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That Is Destroying America. That book explores the people and groups that the authors believe have artificially deepened the divide between liberals and conservatives in America. In the book’s Introduction, they say, “We intend to put polarization on trial. We will introduce an abundance of evidence detailing the damage polarization has inflicted on politics, and why this insidious culture continues to operate to the benefit of the few and to the detriment of the many.Continue reading

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Because I Love My Homosexual Friends

From: Michele Phoenix

duct-tape-mouth

I’ve been encouraged NOT to publish this article.  “You’re going to get slammed,” a friend warned, knowing well that this topic can turn pacifists into thugs.  But I have to speak up.  I have friends, former students and relatives who are homosexual.  Each one of them is beautiful, valuable and honorable.  I love them.  I want them to know that I do—in all my magnificent cluelessness!  I don’t ever want them to think that their sexual identity and choices make them somehow less worthy of my loyalty than my heterosexual friends. So…thanks for the words of warning, but I need to voice these thoughts.  And if my inbox fills with hate mail again (it has before—it hurts when it does), I’ll deal with it.

Three preemptive explanations for the sake of clarity:

  • When referencing The Church, I am referring to “traditional” evangelical churches, particularly those that have expressed hatred toward the homosexual community.  I know there are exceptions.
  • This article is written from the perspective of this Jesus-follower.  I mention “sin” in the context of the Christian faith, as a conservative interpretation of the Bible defines it.  If you do not believe in the Bible’s authority, I understand that “sin” will sound offensive to you.  That is not my intention.  I am a sinner.  I live in (and can thrive in spite of) that reality.
  • I acknowledge that there are multiple theological stances regarding homosexuality and faith.  This is not a personal manifesto on the topic.  It is an essay about our failure to love.

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