Board of Trustees Adopts Diversity Report

The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church adopted a recommendation that all future hires will be made in accordance with the church’s diversity objectives, including the goal of having 25 percent of the denomination’s top leadership tiers filled by people of color.

The recommendation came in a report from the Diversity in Leadership Planning Group. The board also adopted a recommendation to reinstate the director of Race Relations as part of the Ministries Leadership Team—the group of agency directors and other senior leaders who help set ministry policy and direction for the church.

Further, the report calls for 35 percent of the membership of all search committees to be persons of ethnic minority. Several other recommendations were adopted to help ensure that the CRC’s human resources policies, job descriptions, and hiring and recruitment practices are bias-free.

The board also accepted a recommendation that a new task force be appointed to revisit the mandate and mission of the office of Race Relations, “providing added accountability, empowering Race Relations to engage collaboratively with all denominational agencies, boards and councils, and ensuring that the denominational commitment to ethnic diversity will be strengthened and move forward.”

Sandra Williams, chair of the Planning Group, presented the report. She spoke of difficulties faced by the committee and of the many hours people spent on the process. “It is ‘high noon,’” she told the board. “We are required to make decisions that are going to be life-changing.”

Bing Goei was also part of the Planning Group. He spoke of what happened in 1986 when synod (the annual leadership meeting of the CRC) made the decision to appoint the first person of color as director of an agency.

“I remember the process because I was the one appointed by synod,” he said. Goei was referring to his appointment as director of the Synodical Committee on Race Relations (SCORR), the forerunner of the Office of Race Relations.

“Some of the same things came up then,” he said, “but our commitment [is] to reach out and make disciples of all nations. Unity without diversity is uniformity. This is not what God wants.”

Not all the trustees were comfortable adopting the report. Rev. Scott Greenway said he appreciated the work of the committee and didn’t want to frustrate them, but was unsettled about it. “Questions linger,” he said.

(l-r) Faye Dundas, Rev. Sam Cooper, Geneva Hunte, and Anita Van Zeumeren gathered to pray for the CRC’s Board of Trustees as it discussed the diversity in leadership report.

While the board discussed the report, four people gathered in a nearby room to pray for the discussions. Faye Dundas, Geneva Hunte, Anita Van Zeumeren, and Rev. Sam Cooper, all from Meadowvale Community Christian Reformed Church in Mississauga, Ontario, traveled to where the board was meeting in Burlington, Ontario, to pray while the board discussed the diversity report.

“I am here to affirm [those] who gave their time for the past year to prepare recommendations as requested by Synod 2009,” Dundas said. “It is my hope and prayer that there will be positive outcomes according to God’s will and mandate as portrayed in Revelation 5:9-10.”

The Diversity in Leadership Planning Group was a task force mandated by Synod 2009. That year, synod heard that the board of trustees had adopted a change to the denomination’s administrative structure (Agenda for Synod 2009, p 28). One result was that the director of Race Relations was no longer part of the Ministries Leadership Team.

It also meant that there was no longer any person of color represented in the top management tiers. Synod 2009 deemed that unacceptable and instructed the CRC’s executive director to convene a task force to come up with a plan for increasing diversity in senior management. (Acts of  Synod 2009, p. 589) This report was the result of the task force’s work.

The report now goes to Synod 2011 for final approval.

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

See comments (50)

Comments

Hiring somebody because of their skin color is as demeaning, condescending and, in a word, racist as NOT hiring somebody because of their skin color. So much for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream of being judged solely on the content of his character.

One wonders what the much touted Belhar has to say about using "natural diversity" as the basis for such things. Well, it says that "we reject any doctrine...which explicitly or implicitly maintains that descent or any other human or social factor should be a consideration in determining membership of the church."

Setting a quota based solely on descent and other such human and social factors for hiring purposes would seem to me an implicit endorsement of just such a doctrine.

So, Board of Trustees - and Synod - are we going to adopt this "recommendation" or the Belhar? Or are we going to adopt the Belhar but pay it no more attention than we do the Canons of Dort?

"Because all of you are one in the Messiah Jesus, a person is no longer a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a male or a female." Galatians 3.

Once again, CRC Leadership is more interested in promoting the doctrines of political correctness than in proclaiming scripture. Racial preferentialism is morally reprehensible. It's unconscionable in the church. Shame on you for bowing to the world's standards, dividing the church by race and hindering the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else see the blatant inconsistency in the following two statements?

"...including the goal of having 25 percent of the denomination’s top leadership tiers filled by people of color."

"Several other recommendations were adopted to help ensure that the CRC’s human resources policies, job descriptions, and hiring and recruitment practices are bias-free."

MLK must be rolling over in his grave at how his dream to have a man (or woman) judged by the content of his (or her) character and not the color of his/her skin has been so skewed.

The "issue" of diversity is a difficult one to unravel. The Board's intentions, I think, are true, noble, and most importantly, biblically consistent. Our denom. still struggles to incorporate the variety of ethnicities well (though I think we do much better than we give ourselves credit for...).

However, I wonder if this is an attempt to do by Law what should be done by love? Do we not trust ourselves enough to love our (minority) neighbor by incorporating them, that we feel the need to draft rules to do it? Prescribing percentages and limits seems arbitrary, and patronizing. I wonder if there is a better way to do this?

Rob - I'm sure their intentions are true and noble. Not so sure on the "biblically consistent" point.

Regardless, there's a well-known proverb about the pavement on the road to outer darkness where men weep and gnash their teeth that I think applies.

What is going on with BOT accepting such a prejudice, racist and unfair report? Now we are going to discriminate in our hiring practices and profile people based on race? How is this equal and fair? How come the CRC isn't colorblind? Playing the race card and making race an issue in the church is keeping racism alive. Let's not go back to the 1950's. It doesn't matter what the color of our skin is. Period!!

I am hearted to read the comments after reading such a disheartening article. Are the BOT so disconnected from reality that they think setting artificial hiring goals based off of the color of people's skin is going to be helpful or meaningful?

It is insulting to be hired because I fit in a broad category rather than being hired because of what I have to offer as a human being - the focus should be on each person created and loved by God, not broad racial categories ignoring the individuals standing in front of us. It is demeaning.

The church should focus on being the church - focus on the Gospel message and what is in the hearts of people - rather than focusing on the outward appearance (which is what the world looks at). Reminds me of what God says in Samuel... I wonder if they considered that passage.

What a sad step backwards. I hope they reconsider this unfortunate decision.

Rob says, "I wonder if this is an attempt to do by Law what should be done by love? Do we not trust ourselves enough to love our (minority) neighbor by incorporating them, that we feel the need to draft rules to do it?"

That sounds wonderful. Yes, we ought to incorporate our (minority) neighbors because “the love of Christ constrains us.” However, Christians have difficulty practicing what they preach. Christians had clauses in their house deeds and rental agreements saying they would not rent to blacks, Catholics or Jews. This changed, not because the church convinced its members to love others, but because the government passed fair housing laws.

Synod 2005 encouraged each classis to "include at least one ethnic minority person in its synodical delegation..." (Thus, 25% of the delegates would be ethnic minorities.) This “goal” (not law) encourages us to demonstrate our love by incorporating our minority brothers and sisters into our broadest decision-making assembly.

Before 2005 classes elected very few ethnic minority delegates. Synod 2005’s encouragement helped a bit but at Synod 2010 there were only about a dozen ethnic minority delegates, four of whom were Koreans from one classis. Some of that can be "excused" because some classes don't have many ethnic minority officebearers. However, that "excuse" is pretty thin for many of us. And the assertion that we are sending the “best” or “the most experienced” to synod holds no water as anyone who has attended synod knows.

There’s no doubt that we need more than love to incorporate our ethnic minority members. Goals are good because they help us love in “deed and truth,” but there’s some question about whether a “goal” (not a “law”) of 25% will again set us up for failure.

The answer to unjust judgments based on skin pigmentation is not to make different unjust judgments based on skin pigmentation. It's to stop making unjust judgments on the basis of skin pigmentation.

That's a lot harder than simply setting quotas like this. It takes a lot more time and requires a great deal of patience, grace, and forgiveness over that time.

One does not overcome 400 years of history in a single act of Congress or decree from the Board of Trustees. This is an attempt at a quick fix and, like most quick fixes, it will end up only exacerbating the problem.

PNR says: “The answer to unjust judgments based on skin pigmentation is not to make different unjust judgments based on skin pigmentation. It's to stop making unjust judgments on the basis of skin pigmentation. 

That's a lot harder than simply setting quotas like this. It takes a lot more time and requires a great deal of patience, grace, and forgiveness over that time.”

It’s interesting that we ask our minority members for “more time” and require of them “a great deal of patience, grace, and forgiveness.” What do we, the members of the majority, require of ourselves? Determination, repentance, positive action, goals to shoot for or what?

George, what should we require of ourselves? I ask this very seriously. I believe we should require of ourselves to treat other equally, to love our neighbor, whatever their race. I do not believe that we should require that we make artificial goals based off of the color of people's skins.

What is the right number of people of various racial and ethnic backgrounds to have on our BOT? I think trying to come up with a number is silly - trying to actually fulfill the number is a surface level solution to a heart problem. It's embarassing that the BOT of the denomination is going for it.

The work of the Spirit in the live and hearts of people is what will cause change and healing - this will occur person to person. Setting arbitrary percentage goals will not accomplish this.

I trust that the wisdom of Synod will prevail over this recommendation and that the church, through Synod's leadership, will deem it inappropriate, seeing through any "quota" as defacto discrimination.

A quota system? Why? Is it because there is racism in the denomination? Or is it because the denomination needs more minorities represented in it's staff?

John R asks, "George, what should we require of ourselves? I ask this very seriously. I believe we should require of ourselves to treat other equally, to love our neighbor, whatever their race…

The work of the Spirit in the lives and hearts of people is what will cause change and healing…"

John, I prepared a response to your questions and used 51 words for the above paragraph to give my response a context. My complete post was 297 words, and the Banner has now imposed a 200 word limit. Apparently, the Banner is only interested in sound bites, not in a discussion. With such a restricted limitation, we will only be billiard balls bouncing off each other.

I've responded to various topics on this website, but the unrealistic word limitation means that I'm finished with this forum.

If you're interested in my response, give me you personal email and I'll send it.

John R asks, "George, what should we require of ourselves? I ask this very seriously. I believe we should require of ourselves to treat other equally, to love our neighbor, whatever their race…

The work of the Spirit in the lives and hearts of people is what will cause change and healing…"

John, I prepared a response to your questions and used 51 words for the above paragraph to give my response a context. My complete post was 297 words, and the Banner has now imposed a 200 word limit. Apparently, the Banner is only interested in sound bites, not in a discussion. With such a restricted limitation, we will only be billiard balls bouncing off each other.

I've responded to various topics on this website, but the unrealistic word limitation means that I'm finished with this forum.

If you're interested in my response, give me you personal email and I'll send it.

Honestly I'm not sure discussion is going to do much in this area. The reason for this is that this sort of approach has been discussed like crazy because it has been tried throughout our country for many years in all sorts of different contexts and institutions. I look at the BOT's move here as the church coming to the party late, after everyone else is moving towards the door. Setting up artificial quotas that are based not on the person but are instead based on racial or ethnic generalities is insulting and simplistic. It is also, I believe, not something which is inline with our faith.

Reading the article I'm more embarrassed that our denomination's leadership doesn't see this. If we've reached the point that decisions are made according to arbitrary quotas rather than the teaching of Scripture, then I'm not sure where our priorities are or what our future will be.

I again am reminded of what God said to Samuel - the world looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

@ George--If you want to have a more in-depth discussion, have you thought about starting a discussion topic on the CRCNA Network? (network.crcna.org)

I don't think there are such limited word-count restrictions there, and you could continue the conversatino on a broader level.

It's not about "quotas". Nobody wants to hire someone as a mere "figurehead"--the same qualifications should apply for any given position, or else it isn't fair to ANYONE involved--not the least the person of color who is set up to fail in that way.

What is really being proposed here is a leveling of the playing field. The word "quota" isn't used anywhere in the article, yet it is thrown around quite freely in these comments. The fact remains that people from within the majority culture have always had a type of "affirmative action" by means of knowing the unspoken rules of navigating the complex apparatus of the CRCNA. Note the following:

"Several other recommendations were adopted to help ensure that the CRC’s human resources policies, job descriptions, and hiring and recruitment practices are bias-free."

Why do we need to look at these policies? Because they are not effective in getting these qualified people of color (or anybody who is not from the traditional majority culture of the CRCNA) to the place where they can even be considered for these positions.

Quota was not used in the article, but using it in the comments is calling a spade a spade.

Setting an arbitrary goal of 25% is not 'leveling the playing field" it is setting an arbitrary 25% to meet. I truly don't see how it will help.

rain asks, "George, if you want to have a more in-depth discussion, have you thought about starting a discussion topic on the CRCNA Network? (network.crcna.org)"

I don't want to start discussions. I wanted to participate in discussions the Banner had started.

No, George, it's not fair. But look at what 45 years of racial quotas has done in our society. Every Black American who is given a job, or admitted to a top school has to wonder, "Is it because I'm Black, or because I'm good?" Nearly 70% of Black children are born to single mothers. Black youth unemployment is close to 50%. Race relations have been worsened by this system of sanctioned discrimination and we now have come to a point where we are as meticulous in defining race as any anti-miscegenation slave-holder in the antebellum south, all for the purpose of dividing these racial spoils.

Do we want a solution to this racial division, or just a quick-fix to salve our conscience while kicking the problem down the road another generation? The BOT's project is a demonstrably wrong answer. Instead, we should - both Black and White, minority and majority - what I said earlier: stop making unjust judgments on the basis of race. Period. Full stop. Until that happens, we will not heal the gaping wound left from the founding of this country.

Why limit the number to 25%? If 25% is fair, wouldn't 50% be more fair? But why stop there? Wouldn't loving our neighbors (as defined by this "goal") demand us to make the "goal" 100%?

The "goal" is arbitrary and racist. Shame on you.

IT's So wonderful, I'm so excited and fascinated!the CRCNA SYNOD, Is walking towards fulfilling Christ mandate/ definition,and the meaning of the CHURCH= 'Catholical'!My prayer, is that the Holy Spirit of God helps/ gives the Synod the Wisdom for final approval.'I BELIEVE' THIS WILL KILL THE DESTROYER OF THE CHURCH UNIVERSALLY! THAT IS RACISM/TRIBALISM! And this will bring alots of stransformations and Reformation,In Church Leadership Worldwide!
Thanks,EJSUDU.From:The Christian Reformed Church in Nigeria(CRCN).

As usual, the CRC is a day late and dollar short when it tries to be "socially relevant." Though to have followed "the world" at all in this particular instance is amazingly shortsighted and has nothing to do with real biblical justice.

This kind of quota system doesn't work -- as American society as a whole found out some time ago. And it certainly doesn't honor the minority employees who won't know whether they got their job because they're good or because of what they look like. I'm heartened to see that others here are seriously questioning this move.

This is one of the unchurchly kinds of things (one of many) that happens when you model the governing bodies of the institutional Body of Christ after those of corporations. How about you just hire the best qualified people for whatever jobs are available? Encouraging specific people who are members of racial minorities to apply is one thing, and a fine practice. Forcing the hiring of certain numbers of people from specific races is quite another. And it's certainly not justice, biblical or otherwise.

Once again another debate on "quotas' and what people are being forced to do. The reality is that many people in the church including the CRC have been slow to respond in Christian love to see people as Christ sees them - created in His image. Yes we should hire the best person qualified, but for many people, minorities and women included, they are not even considered because some look at the outside. When is the church going to be the church and adopt this verse - "How can we say we love God whom we have not seen and hate our brothers/sister whom we have seen."
What would really sadden Dr. King is how the "church" has not been the church all these years and has judged people by the color of their skin.

Why stop at 25 percent? That doesn't come close to reflecting the racial makeup of the world. And do you consider an Asian to be "colored"? Or a light-skinned Latina? Is there going to be some kind of gradation based on pigmentation whereby a dark black African can count for, oh, "two" and an Italian with a good tan can count for .5? And how will this address the gender issue? 51percent of the world is female---can we assume that 51 percent of the leadership in the CRC will also be female? If the leadership of the CRC can't truly reflect the diversity of God's earth we are, once again only catering to the nefarious white male!!!!

I attempted to answer the question that John R asked me a couple days ago but was prohibited from doing so by the word limitation in existence at the time. Now that a more realistic word limitation is in place, I am able to post what I composed at that time:

John R asks, "George, what should we require of ourselves? I ask this very seriously. I believe we should require of ourselves to treat other equally, to love our neighbor, whatever their race…

The work of the Spirit in the lives and hearts of people is what will cause change and healing…"

Those are wonderful words, but the Apostle John calls us to more than words when he says, "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth (I John 3:18). In spite of wonderful words, Christians did not treat others equally and did not love their neighbor, thereby contributing to the social sin known as ghetto. Shall we fault the Spirit because we held and still hold people of other races at arms length? Shall we say that we’d love others and incorporate them into our neighborhoods, churches and ministries if only the Spirit would work in our hearts and lives?

Our second son was disturbed by what he saw in the dining hall when he attended Calvin College. Ethnic minority students sat alone while groups of Anglos sat and conversed with each other. Our son made it his personal goal to eat with an ethnic minority person who was eating alone and to engage that person in conversation. Can you credit that only to the Sprit of God? Or must you also talk about the attitudes of his home, the fact that he was raised in an integrated community, the fact that he was a sensitive follower of Jesus, the fact that he made a personal goal to include other people in his fellowship circle, etc. Why blame the Spirit for human sin, insensitivity, apathy, etc? Why are new creatures in Christ afraid to talk about human resolution, positive action, goals to shoot for, etc?

One of the things that characterized the life of Christ was hospitality, open hands and an open heart that welcomed those ignored or despised by the rest of society. If we haven’t learned that from our Savior so that it makes a tangible difference in our personal and denominational lives, let’s not sit around asking our minority brothers and sisters for more time so the Spirit can heal us. When we do learn that from our Savior, arrangements like the ones being recommended to synod will be unnecessary.

George, while I appreciate the time you put into your comments, I have to point out that none of what you said offers support to the BOT assigning arbitrary % goals for employment. The debate seems to move from Biblical arguments against racism and for welcoming all people to the notion of % goals - that is a HUGE leap in argument there and I'm not going to be taken for a ride.

You are right we are called to more than just words, but the words are lived out by Christians like your son who put his faith into action in his life. That is what needs to happen. Trying to cover up the cancer of racism with band-aids of % goals will not do much to help the cancer.

John R says: "George, while I appreciate the time you put into your comments, I have to point out that none of what you said offers support to the BOT assigning arbitrary % goals for employment."

John also expresses appreciation for our son who established a personal goal to incorporate minorities but believes that we ought not to do that corporately.

So, John, how do you propose that we as church/denomination "do not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth?"

We must also be aware of reverse discrimination. Choose the best person for the job, not because of ethnic background but because of qualifications.

I believe we need to preach Scripture faithfully. The role of the denomination is to provide oversight to churches to ensure fidelity to Scripture is maintained.

Note, your son did not set an arbitrary % of friends to have who were minorities - he saw living, breathing human beings in front of him and built relationships with them. That is what we need to do, not set arbitrary % goals based on skin color, but care for living, breathing human beings no matter their skin color.

I don't think it's the denomination's role to provide shallow, surface level solutions to deep problems - we need to each engage the issues on a personal level, not in abstract terms of disembodied 'minorities' but in the lives of those God has brought us into contact with, whatever their race or ethnicity.

I don't have a great 'solution', but that does not mean I cannot point out the fact that the plan the BOT has adopted is way off base.

John R says, "I believe we need to preach Scripture faithfully. The role of the denomination is to provide oversight to churches to ensure fidelity to Scripture is maintained."

Ah, before we blamed the Spirit for the fact that we not hospitable to minorities. If only the Spirit would heal us!

And now we blame preaching If only preachers would faithfully preach God's Word I/my denomination would be more hospitable!

John also says: "I don't have a great 'solution', but that does not mean I cannot point out the fact that the plan the BOT has adopted is way off base."

That what the spectators who sit in the stands always say: "I'm not in the game, but I can surely tell the players on the field what they're doing wrong."

In his book Invitation to Pilgrimage John Baille says, ""I remember well how during my study of philosophy as an undergraduate one of my teachers wrote the following words (or their like) on the margin of an essay in which I had criticized a certain accepted theory: 'Every theory has its difficulties, but you have not considered whether any other theory has less difficulties than the one you have criticized'" (p. 15).

If the only solutions you have to the woeful pace at which we've incorporated our ethnic minorities are to criticize the Spirit, criticize preaching and criticize the Board of Trustees, you offer little hope.

Your sarcasm is apparent and not appreciated in the discussion. I have not blamed anyone - either the Spirit nor preachers.

My point is simple - setting arbitrary goals for hiring does not change hearts and can be insulting. The hiring goals focus on outward appearances rather than the character, intelligence, gifts, and value of each individual person reducing them to general racial and ethnic groups rather than the unique people they are.

Change will happen when we all, like your son, open ourselves up to the people God has brought into our lives; in school, work, neighborhood, hobby, wherever. I do not believe it will happen through surface level solutions like % goals for hiring. I am saddened to think that the BOT does think so.

I'm not sitting on the sidelines, I am, however, saying that to recognize a bad idea one does not need to have the perfect solution.

John R says, "I'm not sitting on the sidelines, I am, however, saying that to recognize a bad idea one does not need to have the perfect solution."

No one has a perfect solution, and I’ve previously expressed my misgivings about the high percentage this one proposes, especially in light of the track record of our classes in delegating ethnic minorities to synod. However, the solutions you've offered are "let the Spirit heal us" and "preach Scripture faithfully." Those solutions don't seem to be working. So suggest something else no matter how imperfect it might be.

Years ago the committees appointed in our denomination were comprised of Anglo males. We didn’t do that to be purposely exclusive. We did that because that’s they way we always did it, because the “good old boys” network knew of competent Anglo males, because it never dawned on us that we ought to be intentionally looking beyond our own gender and ethnicity, etc.

That changed when a classis wrote an overture. The overture didn’t ask the Spirit to heal us. The overture didn’t ask for faithful preaching. It went beyond those generalities and specifically asked that synod “encourage our boards, agencies, and synods to include in their committees person who reflect the gender, ethnic and racial diversity of our denomination and, where applicable, the range of opinion that exists in our denomination on a particular matter to be studied” (Agenda for Synod 1995, pp. 409-11).

Some would probably label even this as a “quota,” but hopefully no one asserts that we can’t find a qualified woman or a qualified ethnic minority person to serve on a committee

Your last sentence is wonderful - so let's hire the qualified people not set arbitrary % goals that ignore the uniqueness of people and focus on externals.

It's sad to me that you don't see the work of the Spirit or the preaching of Scripture as ineffective, I'm very sad.

John says: “Your last sentence is wonderful - so let's hire the qualified people not set arbitrary % goals that ignore the uniqueness of people and focus on externals.”

You missed the point of the last sentence. In essence the last sentence says, “We set a “quota” of one in the confidence that we could find qualified people to meet that quota. This contradicts what you and others have been saying, namely that “quotas” mean that we will have unqualified people filling positions.

John also says, “

It's sad to me that you don't see the work of the Spirit or the preaching of Scripture as ineffective, I'm very sad.” (John really means to use the word “effective.”)

I believe the Spirit can heal. I also believe people can resist, even quench, the Spirit. I believe preaching is effective. I also believe people can turn a deaf ear to preaching. I’ve already said that discrimination in housing ended not primarily because Christians finally decided to be led by the Spirit or to respond to the message of “Love your neighbor” but because the federal government passed fair housing laws to overcome the resistance and deafness of Christians.

To continue to ask the Spirit to heal and to continue to ask for faithful preaching while not seriously exploring ways to more fully welcome our minority brothers and sisters discredits both the Spirit and the Word.

George, I appreciate you clarifying your meaning in your recent post. However, from your post at 10:11 am I can understand how John got the impression that you saw the work of the Spirit and the preaching of Scripture to be ineffective, I think he did mean ineffective in his understanding of what you wrote. Before reading your explanation in your recent post, I'd read it just like he did.

I can identify wholeheartedly with the desire of the Board of Trustees to remove all vestiges of ethnic insularity from the denomination, and that this should be done at all levels. I am troubled, however, by the proposal on "diversity" as reported in The Banner. Yes, we must reach out and treat all God's human creatures as equal in his sight, to be inclusive in the matter of color and race. But it bothers me that the word 'multiethnic' is used repeatedly in the discussion while 'non-white' is really what is meant. Real multi-ethnicity would also mean outreach to non-'Van-something-or-othermas', like the millions of Italians, Germans, Russian immigrants or people belonging to historically Anglo-Saxon groups, but we single out 'persons of color' only! How come we do not deal with that?
Secondly, as the father of two grown children with a progressive disability, would it be remiss of me to ask that we establish a percentage for the number of people with a disability that should be hired, especially for leadership positions? And, by the way, disabilities do not discriminate, they cut right across ethnic and color lines.
To bolster my suggestion: there's a direct command to us to go out and look for the blind, the lame etc., "so my house may be filled", to help make possible the picture in Rev. 7:9, the end result of the work we are asked to do.
To underscore the sad necessity and profound need of my request: belonging to various racial and ethnic groups has value in and of itself. One can justifiably be proud of being a Ghanaian, an Irishman, etc.: such person will not look down on him or herself, though discrimination may be experienced.
Not so with a disability: few are proud of being a paraplegic or of having limited eyesight. Justifiable pride and satisfaction enter in when that person is able to accomplish certain things, sometimes through and sometimes in spite of the disability.
The same holds for multiethnic backgrounds. I know, I have experienced (just a bit) of discrimination myself.
Lastly, why is it we have never set a percentage, say 51%, as a yardstick for the number of females that should be represented throughout all layers of our denomination? That would not only be well deserved but it would have a basis in fact also.

Jenn says, "from your post at 10:11 am I can understand how John got the impression that you saw the work of the Spirit and the preaching of Scripture to be ineffective, I think he did mean ineffective in his understanding of what you wrote."

That's what John meant. That's not what John wrote. What he wrote was, “

It's sad to me that you don't see the work of the Spirit or the preaching of Scripture as ineffective, I'm very sad.”

It's the "don't" in the sentence that makes John say something he didn't mean to say. He should have written:

1. “

It's sad to me that you see the work of the Spirit or the preaching of Scripture as ineffective." OR

2. “

It's sad to me that you don't see the work of the Spirit or the preaching of Scripture as effective."

Henry is correct when he says we ought to be concerned about hiring people with disabilities. Jim Vander Laan, the former director of our Disability Concerns agency, was legally blind. It would be fitting to have a person with a disability as the leader of Disability Concerns.

And we ought to be concerned that women are represented in our denominational leadership.

The challenge in responding to calls for a certain percentage of certain groups is that it becomes difficult to divide the pie. That’s probably one of the reasons why such goals are resisted.

Well I'm sorry your nit-picking the discussion like that.

Jenn says, "Well I'm sorry your nit-picking the discussion like that."

This is a surprising response! I clarified what John meant only because his use of the double negative made him say something he really didn't mean to say. I wanted to respond to what he actually meant, not to something he mistakenly said. That's not nitpicking. It's making sure that we represent each others' positions honestly.

George, I will not hold you responsible for the church's Crusades in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries if you don't hold me responsible for the discrmination perpetrated by the church in 20th century housing in America. The issue isn't the wrongs in the past. The issue is the composition of church leadership today.

There are many of us who see racial preferentialism as evil as racial discrimination. Any "goal" with an arbitrary number assigned to it may be reasoned away with good intentions, but its purpose is to promote one race over another. Paul encouraged the Roman church to live together in harmony. He didn't mandate 25% of the Roman church leadership be Gentile. He believed in a better way.

Why does the board stop there? They should be consistent with the application of their goals for diversity at all levels. Why not require those same quotas on Calvin College, an arm of the CRC, as well? Faculty, administrative and support staff, and student body can all be diversified. And Calvin College athletics? One great, big, homogenized pot of diversity for the CRC. But to what end? Diversity for diversity's sake?

John, very well said. Sad the BOT doesn't see Paul's better way.

John says, “… don't hold me responsible for the discrimination perpetrated by the church in 20th century housing in America.” The point of the example is that the church is pretty resistant to love/incorporate people of color. Even though Christians would readily say with Paul that they should live together in harmony, the reality is that when people of color move into a neighborhood CRC folks leave.

Paul, the man who commends living in harmony, saw himself as the apostle to the Gentiles even though that ticked off lots of Jewish Christians. Paul even had to rebuke Peter because Peter’s old habits of discrimination began to surface again.

Brian says, “Why not require those same quotas on Calvin College…?” Calvin has adopted a document entitled From Every Nation, available on its website. Though it doesn’t contain a % goal, it does demonstrate that the college is serious about efforts to become more diverse.

George said... well a lot of things... however the issue I have with the article (and the one many of the other people who commented have) is with the idea of the BOT setting the % goal. In my mind, this is the issue under discussion and other issues are secondary.

I agree with a lot of the things you wrote, George, they just do nothing to support a 25% goal. That's the issue and it's a bad idea.

Jenn says, "I agree with a lot of the things you wrote, George, they just do nothing to support a 25% goal. That's the issue and it's a bad idea."

On March 8 already I expressed my misgivings about 25%. That not really the issue. The issue is this: "We've done a pretty poor job of including our ethnic minorities. How can we improve?" To focus on 25% is an easy way to deflect that question.

I hope you've noticed that those who oppose 25% have no suggestions about how we can improve our track record other than talking about the Spirit and faithful preaching and quoting Scripture texts out of context. To me, that pretty clearly indicates that they're not very concerned about this matter and are content to continue with "business as usual."

I hope you've also noticed that the people who've said that "quotas" are an insult to ethnic minorities have been Anglos. The couple people of color who have posted have spoken positively about the direction the Board of Trustees is pursuing. That doesn't mean that 25% is the solution. It does mean we can't continue with "business as usual."

Unless someone identifies their 'color' how would you know, or do you just assume? What is my 'color'?

Jenn says, "Unless someone identifies their 'color' how would you know, or do you just assume?"

Please, Jenn, let's be honest in this discussion.

Antonio Illas is not an Anglo

Rev.Ezekiel James Sudu, who says (March 10) "IT's So wonderful, I'm so excited and fascinated!the CRCNA SYNOD, Is walking towards fulfilling Christ mandate/ definition,and the meaning of the CHURCH= 'Catholical'!My prayer, is that the Holy Spirit of God helps/ gives the Synod the Wisdom for final approval.'I BELIEVE' THIS WILL KILL THE DESTROYER OF THE CHURCH UNIVERSALLY! THAT IS RACISM/TRIBALISM! And this will bring alots of stransformations and Reformation,In Church Leadership Worldwide! Thanks." identifies himself as a member of the Christian Reformed Church in Nigeria(CRCN).

Pages

X