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The Most Segregated Day of The Week

segregated-sunday

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best nearly 40 years ago, when he said “We must face the sad fact that at 11 o’clock on Sunday morning, when we stand to sing… we stand in the most segregated hour in America.”  

 

It’s hard to believe that same statement still rings true today for both traditional “African American,” “White” Churches and others. Although the local church continues to be relevant, it is still one of the most segregated institutions in American culture.

 

The Church in general does not have a problem worshiping God with people who might not look like them. However, if you put a truth serum in church attendees, church staff and church leadership; church diversity is one of those uncomfortable, black elephant in the room topics that people really don’t want to discuss.  

 

When people talk about race, diversity, or racial reconciliation, a general a non-minority response will sound something like: “I don’t have a problem with race, I don’t even pay attention” or “I voted for Obama, I have a good friend who is black, I have a pair of black boots, and I even have a colored TV.”  Maybe not the last two (LOL), but you get the picture.  These same type statements can be applied to: Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians and Indians alike.

 

It’s important for the church to understand the difference between EMBRACING diversity and TOLERATING diversity. By definition, tolerating means to put up with or endure without prohibition. Embracing is to take or receive gladly, eagerly or willingly.  There is a huge difference between the two and it boils down to intentionality and heart.  If we are to fulfill The Great Commission and “go and make disciples of all nations”, we need to be intentional and prepare our hearts to embrace diversity.

 

When you look in the book of Matthew, specifically when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, let us remember two key verses: Matthew 6:9-10 “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We know that heaven will not be segregated; as a matter of fact heaven will personify the beauty of diversity.  Shouldn’t the church on earth be the same?  

 

I understand the local church should be of some representation of the local community; however that does not stop the heart of the church leadership and congregation to be one that truly embraces diversity.  Again, if we plan for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, Sunday cannot continue to be the most segregated day of the week. I’m not advocating for churches to ignore stylistic/cultural differences and try to become something that they are not.  However, having hearts that intentionally embrace diversity provides a great foundation. Check your heart and check yourself!

 

Does church diversity suck?  What are some things you’ve seen done or that you feel “The Church” needs to do to truly embrace diversity?  Should this be an issue of concern or is it simply a non-issue?  

We Have A Black President!

As the pages of history are being so eloquently written, we get the opportunity to take a first-hand look over the authors shoulder.  As we look over the shoulder of the author we have the opportunity to inspire, affect, create, manipulate, lead… what’s being written on the pages ahead.  The title of the book is a reflection of the past, and an understanding that we’ve made a leap over the precipice of history… “We Have A Black President!”

  • My mom used to have to go to the back door of a restaurant, she was called a n$#@*%, attended segregated schools, was not allowed to vote, she had dreams for her children’s lives to be different… “We Have A Black President!”
  • A nation disagreed, fought like two battling heavy-weights, can’t agree on all the issues, wanted their candidate to win, disagreements crossed racial and party lines… “We Have A Black President!”
  • Sunday is still the most segregated day of the week, diversity in the church is an after-thought, not many people want to talk about it nor address it… “We Have a Black President!”
  • A good man of God ran for the highest office in the land, he was voted in for two terms, he led out of his convictions, he stands at the exit doors of the white house facing a nation in which the majority of the people disapproves of his work… “We Have A Black President!”
  • I can look my two boys in the eyes, whom BTW will never know this country without a Black President and say without question you can be whatever you want to be… “We Have A Black President!”

My friends, those of you who have read my blog for some time know where I stand on The Issues; however that is not important… What’s important is that our nation has and will continue to make history.  Let’s embrace where our nation has come from to the fact that “We Have A Black President!” We have work to do; let’s work hard, lead out of convictions and imagine what could be.  Win or Loose, Our God is So Good!

I’ll close with a quote from President-Elect Obama’s speech: “Our stories are singular, but our destinies are shared.”

Share Your Thoughts… Transcend The Isms’

It takes 2

Hi all, Bert here again. Today’s guest blogger is David TurnerDavid is a husband, father, minister, writer and blogger from Plainfield, Illinois (just outside Chicago). I didn’t know of his blog before this week but I really dig the “Soul Vitamins.”  Ladies and Gentlemen (I use the terms loosely), may I present, David Turner:

David Turner

It takes 2
I’ve been made aware of an underlying belief in the church about single mothers.

There are some that believe that single motherhood is something that the church should not condone.
They believe that these women should not be honored in any way by the church.
They believe that Mother’s Day is a time to give thanks to the women who did it the “right” way.

After I heard this, I had to take some time to get my mind together.
I couldn’t believe that the church could be such a cold place.
When did we become judge and jury for people that didn’t do it “right”?
Did God ask you for your opinion?

First of all, let me say that God’s intent is not for a woman to have a baby and not be married.
He intended for children to be born from the union of a husband and wife.

That doesn’t always happen.

When it doesn’t, why do people have to look down and criticize?
Sure, the man and woman involved have obviously sinned.
They had sex and a child was conceived.

The sin is the sex before marriage, not creating a child.
Getting pregnant is an outward sign of something that happened in private.

Not all of us were virgins when we got married (know any? I don’t).

I refuse to put myself in the judgment seat.
Instead, I say we should make ourselves available to help every single mother that we can find.
Too often the church is critical and not loving.

Instead of telling her that she is a sinner, I would tell her that inspite of the worst that she has done, God loves her and her child more than anything.
Instead of telling her that she is destined to live on government aid, I would tell her that god has placed inside of her, gifts and talents that she could use to benefit her family and her community.
Instead of telling her that she is useless, I would tell her that she has true value that only God can measure.

We need to stop with the madness!!

Single moms, I salute you!!

Jesus Valued Diversity

Teach Your Team To Fish 3 (of 4) “He Valued Diversity”

If you could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same it would look like the following:

  • 57 Asians
  • 21 Europeans
  • 14 from the Western Hemisphere, both North and South
  • 8 Africans
  • 52 would be female; 48 would be male
  • 70 would be non-white; 30 would be white
  • 70 would be non-Christian; 30 would be Christian
  • 89 would be heterosexual; 11 would be homosexual
  • 6 people would possess 59% of the world’s wealth and all 6 would be from the U.S.
  • 80 would live in substandard housing
  • 70 would be unable to read
  • 50 would suffer from malnutrition
  • 1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth
  • 1 (yes only 1) would have a college education
  • 1 would own a computer (an he/she would be blogging LOL)

This compressed look at the world gives some perspective of the need for acceptance, understanding, education and what we talked about yesterday; sharing your faith and inviting a friend.

The Story:  If we look at the myriad of diversity in the world we can clearly see that God values diversity.  Jesus certainly expressed diversity in his choice of staff: tax collector, fisherman, physician, former prosecuting attorney, women…  He valued 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 Thoughts: The bottom line is most organizations and teams do not like to talk about diversity.  Teams like to talk as though everyone has the same backgrounds, experiences and as though someone will be offended by a diversity discussion.  It’s even more taboo to acknowledge the realization that diversity in the church and organizational teams should exist.  It’s not like Jesus just said he took a “group of people” to be on his team; he articulated who they were and there uniqueness to give us a clear perspective of how he rolled.  I personally think we need to move from tolerating diversity to embracing diversity.

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.” 

The Questions:

  • Is diversity taboo to talk about in your team or organization?   How diverse is your team, your church…?
  • Any thoughts on diversity overall; or is it too taboo to talk about?

“We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America.”  Martin Luther King Jr.

Unstereotypical

I posted a guest blog on Swerve today entitled: “Unstereotypical.”  Check it out and post your comments there!

One-Liners to Remember 2 (of 5)

Martin Luther King Jr. said:  “We must face the sad fact that at 11 o’clock on Sunday morning, when we stand to sing… we stand in the most segregated hour in America.”  This statement still rings true today.

Does Church Diversity Suck?  Share your thoughts, as it relates to Church Diversity!

Check out my post on Anne Jacksons Blog today entitled “Church Diversity Sucks.”

How Diverse is Your Church?

I would like to get some input from everyone who reads Big Is The New Small; including those of you reading through RSS.  Your feedback will be helpful  for some upcoming posts on Church Diversity.  OK, here is the question:  “In your opinion, what is the percent of racial diversity of those attending your Church?”  Particularly; White, African American, Hispanic & Asian.  If you could simply post a comment and in your response include the name/location of the church; as well as your guess on the racial make-up.  If you feel a particular population is less than 1% you don’t need to include them in your response, or if you have a significant population other than the ones listed, please include them.   

It does not matter whether someone from your church has already responded or if you feel as though you don’t have a clue, I am more interested in your perception!  I will post the first comment and I want to thank you in advance for your responses! 

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