Here is a book written by a friend, which I highly recommend for anyone who values a diverse church. Let me start by saying that in The Minority Experience: Navigating Emotional and Organizational Realities, Adrian Pei crafts a compelling vision for leadership that the church needs today.
As an Asian American follower of Christ, I’ve experienced the often-harsh dissonance between the vision for diversity that many churches, organizations and ministries proclaim on paper and the reality of living out that vision with purpose, love, truth and grace. Many of us have been burned by the “Benetton ad” effect of organizations seeking only cosmetic diversity (i.e., trying to find “one of each” for a “diverse” group photo, which is then placed on the cover of the next brochure—but nothing actually changes in the culture of that organization). Others have felt the frustration of tokenism, being “given” a seat at the table only to discover that their voice is consistently discounted. And, that’s not to mention the toxic brew of racist microaggressions, blatant discrimination and backlash for pointing out injustice (e.g., “Why can’t you take a joke?”) that many of us face.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. The point is: This is hard work. This is exhausting work.
However, particularly for those of us who believe that a diverse church who reflects the joy and creativity of Jesus is a beautiful, credible witness to our divided, broken world—and that this is a glimpse of the fullness of redemption on the way (Revelation 7:9-10)—this is essential work.
That’s why I’m thankful for Adrian’s voice. The Minority Experience is a thoughtfully-researched, clearly articulated vision of how organizations can take steps to lead change in diversity. His wisdom earned in the trenches of leadership will strengthen any organization that is serious about initiating change around diversity.
I deeply appreciate Adrian’s willingness to display honest vulnerability in sharing his own minority experience. He speaks from his life as an Asian American, but I believe his insights will be relatable to and have implications for people from many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
This is definitely one of those books where I have so many bookmarks, margin scribbles and highlighting marks that it’s almost easier to show what I did not note than what I did. Turning around a big ship can be overwhelming; through The Minority Experience, Adrian helps us chart a new course.