Gary Agee, Associate Professor of Church HistoryWhen I was asked to join the faculty of Anderson University’s School of Theology in August of this past year I came with a strong commitment to the promotion of diversity and inclusion. It had been my good fortune to work alongside a set of talented consultants doing diversity awareness training and teambuilding on behalf of a number of U.S. corporations. These same companies were quick to acknowledge the benefit of harnessing the diverse talent within their respective organizations. Working relationships characterized by mutual respect was to be the normative standard. Upon joining this seminary faculty, I discovered a group of individuals with a heart for carrying out the seminary’s mission statement, “to train women and men for the ministry of biblical reconciliation.” Though the motivation and inspiration is much different, some of the same relational virtues are called on to help us live together in communities increasing diverse and polarized.
Bringing diverse individuals together in life- enriching ways, has its obvious benefits, both within the church as well as beyond its walls. Such a commitment is hard work, however. It requires open-mindedness, listening, reflection, tolerance of difference, and the willingness to critically examine one’s own conditioning. In short, doing diversity well requires a great deal of stretching and growth. I hope while at Anderson University to grow into the role or a reconciler all the while encouraging others to do the same. It is worth the effort.
Email: Gary Agee