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Next-Wave interviews Tony Jones of Emergent

Next-Wave: There are those who have said that Emergent leadership lacks diversity, both in gender and in race. How do you respond?

TJ: Whenever we talked about this at the summit, Doug Pagitt would say, “Yeah, and what about those of us with hazel eyes? There aren’t nearly enough of us in leadership!” Diversity can be conceived of in many ways: racial, socio-economic, regional, gender, eye color. We are doing every thing we can think of to diversify the leadership of Emergent, and to make sure that everyone who is competent and qualified and energetic about Emergent can find a place to plug in and lead. And we are actually going to have a sort of “Diversity Quality Control Team” who will work to ensure that every Emergent initiative reflects as much diversity as possible. We’re also working on a major “diversity event” for May/June, 2006.

It’s not just Emergent that stuggles with that. Resonate does too.

2 Comments

  1. Jamie Arpin-Ricci says:

    I have heard the Doug Pagitt quote used far too often in this discussion. While I understand the point being made and I think that Emergent is doing a fine job at “diversifying”, the comparison to eye colour is glib. Using any core example (i.e. First Nations, African American, etc.), we can see the monumental difference, and even how such a casual remark can be unwittingly hurtful. I highly recommend Anthony’s blog at http://www.postmodernegro.blospot.com for those interested, esp his posts on the “normative gaze”, which I posted on my blog as well. Just some thoughts.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I can see how you feel it is glib although I don’t think Doug means it that way. The other problem facing any church movement right now other than some parts of the Baptist church is we are a white, male movement and it is hard to find diversity when none exists largely. At Soularize in Minneapolis a couple of years ago we were challenged to that fact that we had to change that as individuals but many do not.