What does Matthew 25 :31-46 say to guide our discussion ?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Does this sound familiar? Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is part of the Declaration of Independence and part of what we hold dear in American culture. But our history shows that was not true for everyone. We are not proponents of CRT (critical race theory) or Project 1619, and DEI is not CRT. Let’s explore this further.
In today's world, the acronym DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) have become crucial topics of discussion and action and often controversial among Christians. The call for equal rights, justice, and compassion resonates deeply within the Christian faith, not just the American dream.
Isn’t DEI a slippery slope? What about parts I disagree with? There are parts of “I” that can get messy. For example, one conference where I was previously a frequent speaker confronted me that for me to remain a speaker I had to be “for” everything they defined as inclusion, specifically around gender. As Christians and ordained ministers we hold to marriage between a biological man and biological woman and believe in 2 genders while holding compassion for those who struggle with gender dysphoria or gender identity issues.
So what does”inclusion” look like for Christians?
Grounded in the teachings of Jesus Christ, Christians have a unique opportunity to champion DEI efforts, drawing inspiration from the profound message of Matthew 25.
DEI is very broad and often does include some topics on defining gender that are contrary to religious liberties, freedom of speech and religious rights.
Christians sometimes throw the baby out with the bathwater and disregard things they do not understand or have “an appearance of evil” without embracing the Biblical compassion and generosity in both the Old and New Testament.
The Inherent Worth of Every Individual: Matthew 25:40 states, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." This verse encapsulates the Christian belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. By participating in DEI efforts, Christians can embrace this teaching by recognizing and affirming the value of every individual, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic background.
Following Christ's Example: Jesus consistently demonstrated inclusivity throughout his ministry. He reached out to those on the margins of society, including the poor, the sick, and the outcasts. As followers of Christ, Christians are called to emulate his example. Engaging in DEI initiatives allows Christians to actively pursue justice, advocate for the marginalized, and work towards dismantling systemic barriers that perpetuate inequality.
Loving Our Neighbors: The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) highlights the Christian duty to love our neighbors. DEI efforts align with this teaching by promoting compassion, empathy, and understanding towards individuals from diverse backgrounds. By striving for equity and inclusion, Christians can foster environments where all individuals feel valued, respected, and loved.
Challenging Injustice: Christianity has a rich tradition of confronting injustice. From the prophets of the Old Testament to the early Christian church, believers have historically stood against oppression and advocated for the oppressed. Engaging in DEI initiatives allows Christians to address systemic injustices, challenge discriminatory practices, and work towards building a more just and equitable society.
Building Stronger Communities: The body of Christ extends beyond the walls of a church. As members of a broader community, Christians have a responsibility to actively participate in initiatives that strengthen and uplift their neighbors. By embracing DEI efforts, Christians contribute to creating inclusive communities that celebrate diversity, promote equal opportunities, and foster collaboration
As Christians, we are called to be the salt and light of the world, embodying Christ's teachings through our actions. Participating in DEI efforts based on the teachings of Matthew 25 allows us to extend love, justice, and compassion to all individuals. By actively engaging in DEI initiatives, Christians can contribute to the creation of a society that reflects God's kingdom, where all people are treated with dignity, equality, and respect. Let us embrace this call, and together, make a lasting impact in the pursuit of a more inclusive and equitable world.
Questions to Consider:
Can you be a Democrat and not fully embrace every aspect of the party? Can someone be a Republican and not fully embrace every aspect of the party? Can someone be Baptist or Pentecostal and not be fully 100% in agreement with every aspect of the denomination? How do you hold to faith and beliefs and work toward our calling in Matthew 25 to serve, reach out to and speak up for the marginalized?
We need to learn to be able to be involved in the hard conversations while sticking to faith and religious beliefs without abdicating our responsibility to “the least of these” but holding the tension of our faith/beliefs and equality, compassion and justice issues.