Inclusivity

I was at a meeting a few days ago where we tried to elect a chair of a group. Ought to be pretty simple, right? Everyone of us was an ordained pastor with college educations and masters of divinity degrees.

An hour passed and we finally elected five people to serve as a “team” of leaders with the highest vote getter expected to be the ‘convener’ who would act as THE chair when we needed someone to represent the group at conference events.

The thing is, our bishop had released us to go to our meetings with the idea that we were trying to ‘discern’ what GOD wanted… and WHO God wanted… as our chair.

Now, by my understanding, to discern what God wants is akin to saying find out God’s idea and then go with God’s idea. After all, if you aren’t going to follow God’s directions, then why ask what God’s will is?

But before we voted, we were subjected to parliamentarily confusing procedures (that not even ROBERT with all his rules would recognize), specifying that IF the vote didn’t go the way we thought it ought to with the right ‘inclusivity’ then we would add some people to the ‘team’ to better reflect the inclusivity of our church.

We prayed and listened for God’s leading and then each one marked their ballot and submitted what we felt we had heard God say. And five pastors were chosen.

And, lo and behold, 3 of the 5 chosen were white men and 2 of the 5 were white women. Apparently God must have made a mistake because there were no other minorities represented. SO… the tellers were instructed to find someone of color that got some votes. And that person was added to the team and thus, now, God’s error was corrected.

HUH?

Can we honestly claim that we both heard God when we voted and discerned the top five and then also claim that we have to correct the results of the discernment process? Do we really believe God helps us discern? Because it seems more like we believe WE have to fix God’s discernment process!

And personally, if INCLUSIVITY is going to be the standard by which we judge God’s will and God’s discerning process, then why did we only ask about whether we were inclusive of gender and race. Were we inclusive age-wise? How many elected were in their 20s? 30s? 40s? 50? 60s? Isn’t that part of being inclusive?

How about being inclusive of geography? How many were from the Pittsburgh area? How about Connellsville or Erie or Kane Districts? Isn’t that part of being inclusive?

How many were pastors of large membership churches? How many from small membership churches? Isn’t that part of being inclusive?

How about the liberal/conservative realm? Or the people who have brown eyes compared to those others? How about the bald ones vs. the full head of hair ones?

At what point does the fallacy of ‘inclusivity’ get recognized as just one more DEMONIC way of DIVIDING people?

Now understand, I am personally in favor of trying to be fair to everyone… but as the church we claim that we are ABOVE the practice of treating people differently because of race, creed, gender, etc. So why are we now making such distinctions so important?

And the particular man of color that was selected happened to be African-American, but were we slighting the native-American pastors or the Asian-American pastors or the Hispanic-American pastors? Will he be able to speak for the minority women? A white male apparently can’t be trusted to look out for white females… so how’s a black man going to speak for an Asian woman?

Now, I happen to respect that particular man, and I think he can be a great help to any team he’s a part of… but what are we saying when we claim that we voted based on what GOD spoke to our hearts and he was not elected… but we want him on our team, not because he has anything of value to offer but just because he happens to have been born with the right skin color we want to be seen with for political appearances?

I am embarassed. I am disgusted. That man has MUCH more value than just being black. His skin color has NOTHING to do with his ability to be a good pastor or a good representative for a bunch of pastors.

And by putting ourselves in the place where we claim to hear God and yet we then have to ‘correct’ God’s revealed will as discerned by the body, then aren’t we setting ourselves up as being more wise and more just than God is?

Is that really a smart move?

Let’s resolve to STOP looking at whether someone is black or white or male or female or rural or urban or old or young and let’s just SEEK GOD AND HIS WILL! And then luet’s just do it!

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well.”
–Matthew 6:33
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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Inclusivity

  1. Amen, brother. Re: inclusion and discernment, I refer you to my post < HREF="http://mcilweb.blogspot.com/2007/06/politics-of-annual-conference-2007.html" REL="nofollow">The Politics of Annual Conference<>. Re: inclusion as possible racism, I refer you to my post < HREF="http://mcilweb.blogspot.com/2008/02/one-kind-of-folks.html" REL="nofollow">One Kind of Folks<>. I think that by saying, “William, you’re black…you’ll do”, we acted in a very racist manner, and were very disrespectful of William.

  2. So-called inclusivity is a VERY slippery slope. Our culture is trying too hard to make sure that every voice of every race, nationality, gender, etc. has a say. I agree with with Keith… in a lot of ways, it was very disrespectful to say, “you’re black, you’ll do.” This is the 21st century, not 40 years ago during the civil rights movement. This is happening far too often in the church, and in society in general and trying not to hurt someone’s feelings will backfire.Great stuff, Dayton… and thank you for having the voice to share it without feeling like you’ll be repremanded for doing so. :::applause:::

  3. I Samuel 16:7 NAS “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'” Maybe God had something else for him to do but now his time and energy are going to be used for this instead.How does he feel about being on the team knowing why he was voted to be added?

  4. A little late in getting around these days — was much impressed with your comments on this monster that has appeared in churches over the years better known as inclusivity! Jesus would have been drummed out of the corps due to how He chose people — maybe He didn’t have the rule book as to how many of what kinds of people He was to add to His flock, and to be very sure the percentages were on the mark! Thanks for reminding us of yet another debacle that has not enhanced the advancement of His Kingdom even a centimeter!

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