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I have spent many an hour listening to committees and judicatories bemoan the fact that they are missing diversity. Where are the ethnic, gender leadership and especially the young adults of today? Committees on representation are started or a bit of diversity is allowed to move into a small corridor of power within the established church institution. For a short time this buys them absolution and placates the established hierarchies of responsibility for facing the systemic racism, sexism and agism that is at they core of their democracies.
The reality of the problem is more complex than bandaid efforts for “dialogues” of ministers and laity in discussion groups can radically alter. It is well past time for a revolutionary redistribution of power within our established denominational structures.
How do we get past the slow and shallow impasse that makes pay disparities amongst women and ethnic clergy in comparison to white males? How shall we move to a more equal representation of the young adult population within our church’s systems of governance, judicatories and institutions? Where shall we go to put real action behind years of committee, papers and declarations on ending racism and prejudice within our church’s walls, especially when it comes to equal opportunity?
One way would be to completely reform our antiquated democratic systems governing our churches. When we are still using 17th, 18th and 19th century ideals of democratic systems it is clearly time for a change. These cultural systems that predated social media and instantaneous communications are inadequate to function for new generations that simply can go somewhere else for better representation. If the church does not take seriously the sociological changes of the new generation they will simply be left as relics of a bygone day. We find ourselves well past the time for some to hand over the keys. It is my hope that we can begin serious discussions in the church, with young adult leaders, women and ethnic groups as the leaders, will lead us to understand newer modes of democratic consensus within the church.
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