By Alex Florez
In recent years, it has become quite fashionable—if not obligatory—for businesses, schools, and many publicly visible organizations to produce and promote a statement on diversity or inclusion. While I believe that many institutions are sincere in their desire to welcome people of all racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds, I often wonder about the motivation behind these statements. Do these organizations truly seek to include different people in their operations, or are they merely trying to avoid inciting angry Yelp reviews? Do they really foster non-discriminatory policies and actions, or are they simply slapping a carefully crafted statement on their website?
I certainly do not possess the knowledge or insight to judge whether an organization is sincere or not when they promote ideas like diversity or inclusion. I do believe, however, that it is a healthy exercise for us to do some genuine soul-searching about our own personal intentions and the intentions of the organizations we might represent.
Today’s readings give us a standard we can look to in establishing our position and checking our intentions. We witness the examples in Scripture: How the prophet Isaiah celebrated God’s commitment to outsiders and social pariahs (Isaiah 56:3–8). How Jesus healed the daughter of a Syrophoenician woman, someone who did not technically belong amongst His tribe (Mark 7:24–30). How Phillip answered the Holy Spirit’s call to explain the Hebrew scriptures to the Ethiopian treasurer (Acts 8:26–39).
Taking even a cursory glance at Scripture, it seems to me that Jesus Christ is intent on opening the gates of heaven to all kinds of people, even if they don’t fit our preconceived notions of worthiness or belonging.
Whatever the political climate might be at any given moment in history, whatever the experts say in response to the latest crisis or scandal, whatever popular opinion seems to express, I hope that my thoughts, my words, and my actions will underscore the following affirmation: “you purchased people for God by your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9).