I am so excited to join the Missio Alliance writing team! I have written for them before but now, I will be contributing to their blog monthly. You can find out more about them at their new website. My first post is up today titled, “Diversity is not Nice.”
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to speak at a women’s event at my church. The question I was asked to answer is, “Why does God call us to diversity?” Even looking at the question now causes me to sigh. This emotional response is because I believe that people in the church, at least my multi-ethic congregation, know the answer to that question. Some of us can even quote scripture and maybe tell a story or two about it, but there are still hurt feelings, unasked questions, topics we don’t address, a silent strolling of offensive posts by our so called “friends” on social media, and suddenly, we (the minority group) realize that “they” don’t know us well at all. Perhaps they have not even tried, that is what undergirds the sigh. It is the weariness of understanding that what God calls us to is quite clear, at least for those of us Jesus-loving, Bible-toting, Sunday morning worshipping, bridge building believers. But for some reason we don’t always have a passionate pursuit of diversity. We have simply gotten comfortable with our love of the idea of diversity.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the third annual “Engage our Culture” forum at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Charlotte campus. The topic for this year’s forum was “Bridging the Great Divide: The Church’s Call to Racial Reconciliation” featuring Margaret Yu, National Executive Director of Epic Movement, the Asian American ministry of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ); Mark DeYmaz, founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas, leader of the Mosaix Global Network and author of several books related to multi-ethnic church ministry; Soong-Chan Rah, Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago and the author of the recently released Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times; and Bishop (Dr.) Claude Alexander, Jr., Senior Pastor of The Park Church in Charlotte, NC.
The panel began with a question about the basic theological or biblical foundation for having a discussion about the social construct of race. This cultural and community dynamics concerning diverse people groups is prevalent throughout scripture.
This evening beginning at 7:00 PM EDT, the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Alumni Forum is hosting an educational event: “Bridging the Great Divide: The Church’s Call to Racial Reconciliation” featuring thought leaders, pastors, and theologians: