An Opinion: SO THERE’S A VISION STATEMENT, NOW WHAT?
Written by Newsletter Editor Paul Bauman
You may have read the announcement that the Board of Directors has adopted a Vision Statement for our European American Lutheran Association. Now what? What can it mean?
I have often understood that a Vision Statement suggests the desire of what that organization or group wants to become. They are not there yet, but they would like to be this. So what may that mean for the EALA?
I see it can mean several things. For me, the word “be” suggests what follows is to become a reality. The words afterwards say what that reality should be, namely, visible to others and nameable by them. The EALA will be seen and known as anti-racist. It’s the EALA that is this. This association is opposed to personal, organizational, institutional, and systemic racism that devalues others, especially people of color, as less than human. Furthermore, we, as descendants of Europeans in America, are not the overseers and caretakers of everything in this church, which includes non-European descendents. We seek to be a witness for this church of anti-racism. We want to be for equality and not inequality, for inclusion of all races and not exclusion, for justice for all and not injustice for some. Anti-racism is a way to be concerned about all. We are here to remind others of the whole, which includes all the parts of this church and not just some.
In addition, this church is more than multi-cultural. It is cross-cultural. We are not stuck in our ethnic silo, but reach across to other associations to be aware, understand, and care. A cross-cultural church goes beyone and does not stay only with its own kind. It is not just a body of believers in the Triune God who are of a single color, but of varied colors in relationship with each other. Intentionality is necessary to be cross-cultural. Being an anti-racist witness for a cross cultural church does not happen automatically. This association is the spearhead to puncture this church to be more than multi-cultural.
So where in your congregation, synod, churchwide or the institu- tions of the ELCA can you make an anti-racist witness to a cross-cultural church? And in so doing help fulfill your association’s vision that others then would say he or she is part of the EALA for they have made a nameable and visible anti-racist witness.
From our Winter 2012 Newsletter