Diversity in Leadership Planning Group II report. What is the meaning of 'diversity'?

Comments (8)

The report talks about increasing visible minority representation to 25% of staff and governance bodies of all denominational entities. T understand this clearly, we need to understand what this term means. At present women, while likely constituting significantly more than 50% of denominational membership, do not have proportional representation on all the identified bodies. Is visible minority to be determined only by colour?

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The irony and stupidity of such a 25% "visible" minority requirement becomes obvious, when you are working with minorities who are not obviously visible.   I work with and have meetings with a variety of people who display a variety of appearance.   Some are aboriginal or part aboriginal or metis who do not look significantly different than some old german or ukranian farmers, while others are more obvious.   One individual seemed to be certainly aboriginal, but I discovered he was only about 1/8th aboriginal, 7/8 european ancestry.   The child of a Japanese preacher and a Norwegian pianist;  will this child satisfy the visible minority requirement based solely on appearance, or will he only half satisfy the 25% requirement?   To really mess with the english language, I assume that we are not looking solely for those who are 1/4 blood visible minorities?  

No matter how you slice it, this particular target makes ridicule of the notion that in Christ there is neither Greek nor Jew.    If the best preachers, and the most spiritual and most biblical are all from India or Nigeria or Korea, then let the staff be 100% visible minority.   But don't pick them for their color or lack of it. 

MY THOUGHTS BELOW, WHILE INFORMED IN PART BY MY ANTI-RACISM WORK AND TRAINING, ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT REFLECT THE OPINIONS OF MY EMPLOYER. 

I agree that "visible" minority is an awkward phrase. I think part of the issue is that Canada and the US use different terminology, but I know that's not all of it. 

My personal preference is to identify people from "under-represented groups" or those "outside of the majority culture". This takes into account diversity of life experiences, rather than physical appearance. In my opinion, the reason we should value increasing our diversity is that we want the leadership of this denomination to be attainable by all in our denomination, not just those who are on the "inside". This diversity incorporates physical appearance to some extent, but as your examples show, that is not the entire story.   In terms of "neither Jew nor Greek", I would refer you to (CRC Campus Minister) Shiao Chong's reflection on New Testament "Affirmative Action". Pastor Chong says of the Church in the book of Acts:   "Instead of maintaining the status quo, they chose to integrate the subgroup into the structure of the church. They chose to create a new leadership structure and empower the immigrant subgroup’s ability to exercise their gifts and leadership."  (Shiao Chong, A Biblical Case for Affirmative Action, thinkchristian.net. Retrieved 11/14/2012)  In my opinion, the real issue is that those of us in the majority culture need to be willing to release control and share power, which means going outside of our comfort zone to allow for different styles of management and different ways of looking at things. This is the diversity that I long to see in the CRC. 

While different management styles and different ways of looking at things is a statement that "sounds" good, it is so open-ended that it does not mean very much.  Would that mean that having a pope as manager would be okay?  Would that mean that every local church formulating its own confessions and hymnbook would be okay?   Would it be okay if elders were appointed for life?  Would it be okay if preachers were not approved by seminary or by classis?  How far does it go?  Of course there are many personality styles and also many peculiar council working arrangements in different churches, including approaches to preaching, singing, discipline, weekly activities, but don't they all need to fit within the direction and control of scripture?   Diversity is great, yes, in many things.   But in some basic and essential things diversity is not so great.   Therefore it cannot be a general philosophy.   Each case needs to be considered in its own context and on its own merits.   Yes? 

Participant

Having read previous discussions about diversity, witnessing a change in the mood of people toward inclusion from 'let's try to do better' to 'what diversity looks like' I have been hopeful then cautious now wondering what may or may not occur in our denomination. In 2012 I am not feeling the Love of Christ in discussions and not seeing a willingness to change or 'give it a try.' The assumptions that diverse people somehow are different in mind, body and spirit in our relationship to the people of God I find to be 'odd.' I continue to hope, pray and quietly believe that our 'diversity' will occur when we all accept each other as children of God.

In response to Frons, I am curious as to whether you could give an example of where the love of God is not present in a situation that you have experienced?   Or perhaps give an example of where people are not willing to change in a situation where you thought they should have changed?  

John 

Participant

Well at 66yrs olde I read, study and pray a lot. Giving 'examples' to me serves no purpose other than reading reactions and counter reactions to what I write. I felt motivated to post which I avoid most of the time because I'm oriented to living the Gospel rather than writing about it. It is interesting to me when I read, listen and seek God's Grace in conversations on or offline. The feeling of remorse I write about is because regardless of the words diversity or multiculturalism or equal rights, the reactions of good well meaning people is too often based on unsaid beliefs. Just say I'm olde and tired.

Fronse,

I empathize with your sorrow that we have not done better.  But I also know that many African Americans and other minorities have expressed your same exhaustion, yet they keep on.  I pray that you will join me in keeping on even in the face of discouragement.

Peace,

Randy Gabrielse

Participant

Thank you for your encouragement. For once I expressed my real feelings and it helped me personally to 'post it.' As children of God we all have good intentions and our collective challenges are great. I am a firmm believer that with Christ filled hearts and minds God will lead us to unity. There has been too much talk and writing and not enough commitment to living Christ-like lives together. The Peace of Christ be with you.

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