Adapting to an increasingly diverse world is one of the biggest challenges facing today’s congregations. Eric H.F. Law has written extensively on how churches can open themselves to the new and different because, he says, it’s imperative that we do so.
I first encountered Eric in Los Angeles where hisKaleidoscope Institute offers a variety of classes, most having to do with inclusion. Eric’s insights and strategies into building open, inviting congregations and small groups are incredibly valuable.
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Eric Law argues that the most sustainable way of doing church today is by building a diverse community. The idea that diverse groups of people not only perform better than homogeneous groups at solving problems, but more wholly embody the breadth of a diverse God is widely accepted today. Eric offers us practical tips at approaching diversity and inclusion. Here are my notes from the interview:
We Have a Long Way to Go
Eric begins with the obvious: most churches do a horrible job at inclusion. We all say we’re open and accepting, but in reality, we’re aesthetic constructs heavily bias toward the majority race, color, and economic makeup. Becoming, more fully, the ‘rainbow people of God’ means recognizing our shortcomings and moving forward.
How do small groups of diverse people (more reserved Asians and extroverted Americans) share the same table and get equal time and input from everybody? Eric explains his popular concept of Mutual Invitation.
Respectful Communication Guidelines
We’ve all seen iterations of these, but Eric’s 7 points, contained in a helpful acrostic, cover all the bases and help small groups operate with respect and dignity.
Eric H.F. Law
Eric is an Episcopal priest whose ministry is consulting with churches and judicatories on issues of inclusion and reconciliation. His books include: Inclusion – Making Room for Grace, The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb, and Finding Intimacy in a Time of Fear. Eric works out of the Kaleidoscope Institute in Los Angeles and is available for consultations.
Books Eric Recommends:
Building Social Business – Muhammad Yunus
Make the Impossible Possible – Strickland/Rause
Cognitive Surplus - Clay Shirky