I am enough of a sports fan that I also publish a christian sports blog. As an Australian football fan I’ve been poking around their league website as the season is just starting. As I poked around I immediately noticed two articles (here and here) related to promoting multiculturalism in the sport and tolerance in our society.
Look at the vision and resources dedicated to this program described in this quote,
The AFL is pleased to announce 183 multicultural community leaders from around Australia will join the AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador program in 2014.
The aim of the AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador Program is to further engage multicultural communities in Australian football through a network of dedicated volunteers… representing 44 countries of birth, 65 nationalities and around 100 languages.
So here’s my vent…
How can a football league recognise the value of racial and ethnic diversity to its future growth while many Christians complain that the complexion of their neighbourhood has changed?
How can a football league proactively recruit and train “lay people” to spread the good news about football within their communities, while the answer most churches have is to start a new church for the new people?
How can it seem so normal for a football league to celebrate cultural diversity and such a political statement for a church to do the same?
How can a football league possess greater passion in spreading its game to new people than the church has for spreading the message of new life in Christ?
Can you imagine the church recruiting and training 200 “ambassadors” representing 44 countries of birth, 65 nationalities and around 100 languages? Wouldn’t that be a dynamic workshop?!
A separate article describes how Essendon captain, Jobe Watson, joined the AFL’s multicultural ambassador program as “the token white guy”. The rest of the players in this program represent immigrant or aboriginal communities. So why would a white guy from the suburbs join? I love his answer,
How can you expect society to be inclusive if a proportion of society only think multiculturalism is the responsibility of people with multicultural backgrounds?
To build on being an inclusive game and being accessible to people from all different backgrounds, it’s important that someone who doesn’t have as diverse a multicultural background as others is interested and is part of the program.
Those two sentences carry a lot of weight when applied to the church. Unless people of all ethnic backgrounds willingly work together our churches and society will never change. It shouldn’t be about a minority or collection of minorities conducting a campaign. It shouldn’t be about the majority legislating a path forward. It should be about everyone being willing to talk and work together.