The day after the election (oh may it rest in peace and never come back to haunt us!) I heard Rush Limbaugh on the radio ranting about Diversity.
His points included:
- People who want Congress and the Military to be diverse absolutely mean that white people are inherently bad and racist and there need to be fewer of them represented.
- By claiming our military is diverse we are saying that any other quality doesn't matter but that diversity is the most important thing.
- Every voice can be represented by white men (his example was something along the lines of: Do you think that men can't adequately represent women? And I thought, well of course they can't! Women have their own voice and can be their own advocates! And then the one that irked me the most......
- In order to be diverse that means you are subtracting white in order to have other voices.
That is just logically not true.
This got me thinking about diversity even more than I previous had been, which was a bit.
A few of the questions on Guide Star regarding JourneyFEST's Board of Directors are 'Do you have races other than white represented?' and 'Do you have disabilities represented?' We do have disabilities represented (my husband Tim has cerebral palsy) and let me tell you, it is necessary to have disabilities represented on the board of a disability support non profit! Parents have a big voice, yes, but the disabled voice is important and shouldn't be ignored.
It's the same with different races. As much as I have learned to appreciate and respect people of color and hispanics (don't shoot me for being an admitted work in progress), I *still* do not understand the issues enough to be a voice for them. I don't, and neither does Rush Limbaugh.
All voices are important and all voices need to be listened to.
Over the weekend I went to a pre conference training on "Making the Gospel Accessible to All", which, you guessed it, was about how not only to include disabled people in church, but how to prepare and WANT them so that when they arrive, they will feel expected and not like we don't want them.
The speaker, Dr. Ken Campbell, referenced the following verses from Luke 14. Read vs. 16-23
But [Jesus] said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.
If our goal is for the Gospel to be accessible to all, then we need to compel people with disabilities to come to church. We need to invite them again and again until they give in and come. And we need to be prepared so that when they come, they realize that we were ready for them and had expected them. We want them to feel loved and learn to love Jesus and have a church home.
And 'THEM' is me! We want to be included and EXPECTED at church, with all our unique needs anticipated and taken care of. Ilse might be loud in the service and that needs to be ok. (I can't tell you how much I always appreciated our previous church home being so welcoming of her noises!) There are a thousand other things special needs families need.
And again, the goal is *That God's House May Be Filled*.
I know I segued a bit into church issues when I was talking about diversity, but it's really the same thing. Churches need diversity! We don't all want to be the same race, the same background, the same personalities. God made diversity and we should embrace and welcome it.