There is a weekly update, the Emergent/C, that can be sent to you via email scroll to btm of page and sign up) or appears on the website, and directs you to the emergent-us blog. This week’s update is written by Brian McLaren and addresses the issues of diversity and justice as two arenas that emergent is committed to focusing on in the coming years. His reflections on the summit begin:
“I left the June 05 summit with renewed excitement about the direction and potential of emergent. We all sensed a growing passion in two areas that are especially important to me.
First, we have been increasingly concerned about diversity for a few years. Fortunately, there has been denominational diversity among us since the beginning – and it has grown steadily in recent years as emergent has become a “post-liberal/post-conservative” common ground. But the “white maleness” of almost all Christian leadership networks has been of concern to us.” (read more)
What follows Brian’s post is a series of comments that digresses into mudslinging all to soon and does not remain on track to discuss the issues of diversity and justice or suggest and entertain ways to engage in these issues. I posted the following comment:
“I was invited to the Summit in Minnesota, and I listened to and participated in the discussions regarding diversity and justice. They grew from a desire to live after the way of Jesus, who gathered a myriad of diverse people around him and asked them to love each other in the way that he loved them. Imagine a Zealot and a tax collector sharing a meal, living in community and serving together!
Jesus was always aware of “the other,” the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized. This same awareness drives the growth in emergent’s efforts toward diversity and justice. As a minority woman, I experienced a welcoming and inclusive tenor in the voices and hearts of the “white men” of emergent. There existed such an acceptance and equality, toward all the women present, that it in terms of equality and input it was a non-issue. However, because of the groups awareness and wisdom regarding this vast and important issue of diversity, the discussion regarding how to expand the way emergent address diversity ensued. (And believe it or not a diversity of age, gender, and faith traditions were represented within the room). Diversity was understood to include differences within race, gender, age, socio-economic, cultural, and faith, as well as other arenas.
I was reminded of the teachings of Levinas, regarding the importance of “the other,” as I reflected on how the disciples learned about Jesus, a life of faith and the way of love as they lived in community. Embracing diversity affords us the opportunity to know more of God and of ourselves in learning and listening to “the other,” as well as living in community with one another.
As far as justice issues, the humble attitude of the leaders of emergent regarding our part in historic and global injustice required an increased awareness and intentionally coordinated missional action. This is not a shift, but an expanding of the call and commitment to live after the way of Jesus who cleverly and subversively fought injustice as the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Can we please get back to the main issues of doing justice, loving mercy & kindness and walking humbly with God rather than all the mudslinging that serves only to divide and incite further diversion from the work at hand?
Of course, there will be theological differences. However, as I read and teach the scriptures, I rarely see Jesus debating these points, for the sake of argument, but instead would call people to action, to move forward and engage in love. Therefore, what can we agree on? Where can we join one another in the work of God on the earth in these times…”
I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts regarding this discussion and/or ways to engage in these issues with a view towards inclusion and embrace.