While it might not seem that to start this with a quote from a Harry Potter book is a very scholarly approach , JK Rowling certainly got it right in this regard: fear of naming something increases the fear of the thing itself. 

 Never is this more true than in the white liberal Church. Notice I say church with a large "C" here because I don't want to give the impression that I am picking on a parish . But the institutional white liberal Church at large has a great deal of difficulty being intentional and naming its process for reaching any diversity goal.

 Recently I apparently ruffled feathers by using a diversity assessment tool developed for use in the corporate world. The tool is intended to give a snapshot of the current diversity of an organization or team.  I was struck by a few things:

 How easy it is to pay lip service to diversity when there is no one to hold us accountable; and how foreign it is to "church people " to be intentional about assessing diversity 

 How the Church has skated by on this issue because there is no government oversight on it, at least for churches .

 Because in the Church we pride ourselves on being "sensitive" and "aware", we often skirt as widely as possible around actually naming anything to do with diversity; especially diversity with which " average" (ok, read straight, white, male since that is still overwhelmingly the case) clergy are uncomfortable . 

 It seems to be the assumption in the white liberal Church, that because we have developed an ideal of diversity as a godly trait , and because we wish to be known in the world as diverse , that we have merely to name the desire and it will be so . 

 Diversity takes work . It takes an assessment ( a snapshot ) of the diversity make up of the church as it stands now . It takes an intentional plan to develop diversity awareness within existing sectors . It takes an intentional plan to develop methods of reporting diversity , methods of assessing diversity , and methods of supporting the increase of diversity . 

 The Church likes to think it is exempt from the hard work it takes to develop a diverse staff, congregation, or adjudicatory body . Seemingly , the church is relying on an awareness of sinfulness to simply somehow magically bring about change . But in this instance , on the issue of diversity , I think true repentance is a lot harder than it looks .

 What else can the Church do? In the past, I've been beaten up a little bit for pointing out that the corporate world , especially (gasp) financial institutions , are ahead of us in terms of developing diversity, and honoring and supporting diverse populations within the workforce . They didn't do this because they're inherently sinless! 

 Such corporations are intentional about developing diversity because they've been forced to be so . And I don't see anything wrong with living by the guidelines that the world banks , and financial institutions have to live by when it comes to diversity . The benchmarks and tools developed are actually quite useful.

 Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank act "authorizes the government to compel financial institutions to more fully utilize women and minorities in their workforce and in all aspects of their business activities. The legislation applies to each of the nine federal financial agencies, all entities that contract with these agencies, and all private financial agencies that are regulated by these agencies."

 This means that these financial institutions are compelled to be in compliance with section 342 , and to effectively show that they are intentional in their plans to be compliant or to grow towards compliance . 

 Yes, I am aware of the ongoing issues with the Dodd-Frank act , with the reforms still being negotiated and rules still being written , so please do not write me about that . My only focus at the moment is section 342.

 This is a link to a tool to grade a financial institution's compliance with section 342 of the Dodd-Frank act 


 I'm not claiming to be an expert on diversity . I'm not even claiming to know every detail of what my diocese ( known to be one of the most diverse , culturally competent , and culturally sensitive dioceses in the Episcopal Church) is doing towards diversity . But one of the hallmarks of compliance for financial institutions is that the knowledge of the planning for diversity amongst the average worker is widely known . Since I consider myself an average worker in the diocese , I took the test to grade our diocese on its level of commitment to such things as assessment , planning , and support for diversity .  

We scored 1.86 out of 5

 Although we scored high in our intentions , we did not score very well in our planning and support . Intentions are good. Intentionally using the tools already developed to plan for and support diversity is better .