Is the Emergent/Emerging Church Movement White?
I don’t if it is just me, but the whole emergent or emerging (depending on how you define it) movement appears to be a little less diverse than what some of us had hoped for by now. This is not to say in any way that those who lead the movement are not carrying an inclusive posture towards those who are not of European descent nor am I saying that those leading “must” intentionally develop some form of affirmative action in their representation.
Furthermore, I am also mindful that diversity is not limited to ethnicity. For example, cultural diversity may be as complex (if not more complex) as ethnic diversity. Nevertheless, a movement committed to embracing all of humanity, both locally and globally, should relationally highlight those who don’t appear to be of the same kind (which may include skin color). I really don’t want to be a part of something that claims inclusiveness only to depth of invitation and not input.
Take a moment to look at any emergent/emerging church conference or gathering…what colors do you see? What kind of diversity is represented? Why is this? I was really hoping that the emergent or emerging church would be different. I’ve considered the following:
- Maybe there’s just a smaller pool of people to draw from in minority races as it relates to “emergent/emerging” issues… I doubt that this is the case since I know several who wrestle with the issues presented from several backgrounds.
- Maybe the emergent/emerging church has primarily shifted at a philosophical level and have defaulted back to the prior system of mono-cultures… This may very well be…maybe we’re not that progressive.
- Maybe it’s subconscious superiority or subconscious ignorance… I just that it is not subconscious racism…really hope not.
- Maybe, as one emergent leader shared with me in private, there isn’t much possibility for those who are not “white” (a term used by this individual) to actually sell enough books in today’s publishing market here in the US to have any real level of influence in the conversation… This person just turned to me and said that I should write a book. Why should I in light of his comments?
- Maybe a diverse movement is not a real possibility in the US… Maybe those of us on the outside of leadership are all dreaming…
- Maybe I just haven’t met the diverse side of the emergent/emerging church… Believe me, I’ve looked. Glad to have met you Aaron Flores.
- Maybe some of us are just too sensitive to this issue… I know I probably sound like this… 🙂
- Maybe I should just move on… Honestly, I could care less about labels (e.g., emergent, emerging, postmodern, post-Christian, post…whatever)… I just wonder if there is something here worth pursuing or developing.
Whatever the case may be, I love the questions that risen from the emergent/emerging church movement. I think they are significant. As the leaders of the movement write and articulate the struggles and tenets, I hope that some of us from the outside, who carry similar concerns from different textures of life, would one day be intentionally included from time to time…maybe even invited and then listened to. I just don’t want to recreate another culture that mimics the previous one with different language.
Just some thoughts…