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marks of the church

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: why they are marks of the church, and how we can practice these values in our congregations and mid councils

When we read about the first band of Christ followers selling their possessions and “distributing the proceeds to all, as they had need,” (Acts 2:45), we clap our hands, lauding such noble sacrifice, but snicker under our breath, whispering, “Now that’s a bit too much!” We eye their sudden dispossession as fanatical, what uncouth cults do: they sell everything and go up to the mountains because they are cocksure of Jesus’ return date and time. We have (and have had) many Christian-freaks/fringes who abandoned human society to welcome the end of the world, only to return poorer. Here we are, 2,000 years later, and the human society is still humming, and money still matters, so let’s live out our faith in “decency and order.”

‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’ are not trends

These days, every organization is coming up with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion — commonly referred to as DEI — strategic plan. The hiring of diversity and inclusion executives has grown 113% in the last five years. As of February 2021, half of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies have a chief diversity officer. The national agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are also putting together DEI plans as a response to the General Assembly mandate for a Race Audit in 2018. However, this is not the church jumping on the latest business trend. DEI has been a core value from the birth of the church. In fact, the church practiced them first. Consider the basic definitions of DEI and how they were present in the early church, from its Pentecost birth.