If we look at the myriad of diversity in the world we can clearly see that God values diversity. Diversity is not always about race or ethnicity; for instance Jesus certainly expressed diversity in his choice of staff: tax collector, fisherman, physician, former prosecuting attorney, women etc. He valued diversity and placed an array of personalities, backgrounds and experiences around him in order to advance his work. The story of Jacob and the “minority” sheep is another great illustration.
The bottom line is most organizations and teams do not like to talk about or embrace diversity. They would prefer to talk as though it doesn’t exist. By doing this they are assuming that everyone has the same backgrounds, experiences and wiring. People are so uncomfortable and worried about the “Race” conversation offending someone, they choose to make it a non-issue. The only way that race will be a non-issue is if you make race an issue. (repeat that last sentence) Although it may seem taboo, you must be willing to talk openly about race and diversity.
The even harsher reality is to acknowledge the realization that diversity in organizational teams should and in my opinion must exist. It’s not like Jesus just said “I took a group of people to be on my team.” Jesus articulated who they were and the uniqueness they brought to the table — this gives us a clear perspective of how he rolled. I think Jesus was illustrating this mindset, “I know all of these people around me bring diverse backgrounds, diverse way of thinking and diverse ways of acting to the table, but that’s the beauty about how we are going to get this work done.” In other-words, Jesus is saying that you and you and you and you… can be on my team with the unique differences, skills, thoughts and backgrounds that God has given you.
Jesus embraced diversity at all levels; I personally think we need to be like Jesus and move from tolerating diversity to embracing diversity at all levels. Jesus embraced diversity — Do You? Does Your Job? Does Your Church?
Fortune magazine states that “diverse groups make better decisions. If everyone in the room is the same, you’ll have fewer arguments and worse answers. Diversity is a distinct competitive advantage.”
Share your experience and thoughts working in organizations or attending churches that either embrace or simply tolerate diversity of any kind? Race, Gender, Thoughts, Backgrounds…