multiethnic churches saying and doing different things
Mark DeYmaz pastors Mosaic Church over in Little Rock, Arkansas, and it’s very ethnically diverse. Goes to show — your church doesn’t have to be in a cosmopolitan top 10 population density center to be diverse. His new book, Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church : Mandate, Commitments and Practices of a Diverse Congregation, is being published as we speak, and it’ll be released in October 2007 or so. I was invited to endorse it, and they’re using my quote on the back cover and at amazon.com too:
This book unpacks theological and practical principles for local churches interested in truly serving their neighboring communities in an increasingly diverse America. It paves the way for the future of the local church and the next generations of its leaders.
And just in time for the book release, Mark DeYmaz is blogging now at www.markdeymaz.com . Mark is a part of the Mosaix Global Network, which has 4 regional conferences this October and November chock-full of inspiring speakers and workshops to explain and show how to build a multiethnic church. Details for the Northeast regional conference in Pennsylvania is online at mosaixglobalnetworkne.blogspot.com.
Racism and the church isn’t supposed to be an easy topic. So while I was pleasantly surprised to see 9 Marks Ministries dedicate its entire Sept/Oct 2007 issue of its eJournal to discuss issues related to the problem of racism. The 13 articles and book reviews are organized under 3 headings: Is there a race problem? Reflections on the problem, and Overcoming the problem.
I found most of their articles to barely scratch the surface of the embedded problem of race within the American church. While upholding the imperative to think theologically about all things, and perhaps due to the limited space of addressing such a complex and multi-layered problem, all the energy gets spent on theological abstractions and doctrinal priorities with little consideration for strategic moves to make long overdue systemic and structural changes. So let’s get to the fresh thinking about racism already, rather than concluding with the same song to get more theological and get more thinking about the racism problem. And let’s really dig deeper and recognize how culture shapes theology, and the lens by which theological constructs were put together may need re-examination and itself re-considered in a more multicultural context.
Note the 3 Asian voices in the mix: Sam Lam wrote about 10 lessons he got from reading Frank Wu’s Yellow, and Jeremy Yong & Geoffrey Chang both wrote book reviews on Growing Healthy Asian American Churches.
What I’d like to see: someone from the “gold-standard” Reformed theological camp write a book that does articulate how a Reformed kind of Asian American church would look like and address that cultural milieu. And, why is it that just thinking rightly about theology, the Gospel, and the cross, and supposedly living out of that faith, has not resulted in Reformed churches being any more ethnically-diverse than non-Reformed churches.
 Good grades means less friends for Blacks and Latinos. cf. The Fryer-Torelli paper, An Empirical Analysis of Acting White (PDF), has gained much attention and buzzworthiness among scholars in The Academy as of late, which found an inverse relationship between good grades and popularity among Blacks and Latinos. [ht: 8asians.com]
[update 9/4] The Baptist Standard weighs in race issues in the church too:
- Race: The final frontier
- Baptists active on both sides in the Little Rock integration battle
- Opportunities, challenges confront increasingly multi-ethnic congregation
- Minorities are flocking to multi-ethnic campus groups for Christian fellowship
- Aging minister recalls price paid for recognizing God’s image in all people
- BOOKS: When All God’s Children Get Together–A Memoir of Race and Baptists