Friday, December 6, 2013

Lovely prayer collection, but it lacks diversity

Two Charlotte pastors – but no clergy of color – are among 16 religious leaders who have penned prayers for North Carolina in the December edition of Our State magazine.

The Rev. David Chadwick of Forest Hill Church, one of Charlotte’s multi-campus megachurches, counts among “the goodnesses of the the Lord” North Carolina’s weather, its faith, its schools and its people.

The 6-foot-7 Chadwick, who was once a member of the Tar Heel basketball team (1967-71), also manages to slip in thankful references to former Coach Dean Smith and Carolina blue.

He writes in his prayer that North Carolinians admire Smith for integrating the ACC in the 1960s by adding Charlie Scott, an African-American, to his team.

And Chadwick writes this: “God must love the Tar Heel State, for he made its sky Carolina blue! Lord, you are good!”

A few pages later, the Rev. John Cleghorn of Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian relates the history of his own growing, diverse church to the hope Christians embrace during this season of Advent.

Once the Belk family’s neighborhood church in Elizabeth, Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian had dwindled from a flock of 1,100 in its heyday to about 12 elderly members in 2006.

I’ll let Cleghorn tell the rest of the story, which he does in his prayer: “This sturdy remnant clung to its faith, believing the end for Caldwell Presbyterian Church had yet to arrive. They were right. In the fall of 2006, the old, white, traditional Presbyterians were joined by a group of people who looked very different but shared the same fundamental faith. Caldwell Presbyterian came back to life as a place of hope for others.”

You can read all 16 prayer essays – including one from Charlotte-born Billy Graham here. You can also listen  to Chadwick, Cleghorn and all of the others (except Graham) read their own prayers. And you’ll find some breathtaking pictures of North Carolina.

The Greensboro-based magazine, which was launched in 1933 and publishes 220,000 copies per month, managed geographical diversity in its choice of ministers. The clergy-writers live all over the state.

But the religious diversity isn’t there – within Christianity, yes, there’s Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Quaker, Moravian, Episcopalian and nondenominational evangelical. But other than one Jewish rabbi, there are no non-Christians. No Muslims, no Buddhists, no Hindus.

And shockingly, all 16 of the clergy-writers are white (and only two are women).

Certainly one of the great blessings of North Carolina is its diversity. And its robust faith community includes not only African-American churches, but also an increasing number of Latino and Asian congregations.

Our State editor-in-chief Elizabeth Hudson told me the omission of clergy of color was not intentional. She said she invited 23 people to write prayers, including three African-Americans. She got 16 submissions, none of them from the black ministers.

She also said this in an email: “While the response to the message of our story has been largely positive, I have to say I concur with the criticism about our lack of diversity in this story. We can and will do better in reflecting North Carolina going forward.”

-- Tim Funk


Anonymous said...

"And shockingly, all 16 of the clergy-writers are white (and only two are women)."

Yes, Tim. Just "shocking" isn't it?

I'm so glad we have media folks around to tell us how to think and feel, even in the absence of genuine controversy.

Anonymous said...

Tim, are you running for Mecklenburg County Commissioner?

Anonymous said...

So lib Funk finally admits he is a RACIST (like all liberals obsessed with race) with this crap article? Wasn't Funk one of the ones charged for busting 1st amendment rights in Raleigh with his commie socialist liberal redistribution higher taxation of wealth pals advocating a riot power take over of McCrory and the GOP ownership of the state for the 1st time in 130 yrs ?
Havent libs done enough damage in NC and America including the terminal cancer in the WH?
Why do these liberal commie criminals want another 3rd world nation for this western 1st world country like Mexico? Africa? half of Asia? Caribbean? South America?

Why did Rome select a socialist 3rd world socialist pope? Big mistake !!!!
How about sending this loser commie back home and getting another John Paul?

Anonymous said...

Excellent POINTS!!!

Tim Funk, is only showing what is being presented. You cannot hide from the FACTS, he merely pointed out the lack of diversity. That's not being racist, that's READING COMPREHENSION.

We all need to take a look in the mirror and ask are we doing as much as possible to increase diversity.

Countryboy JJ

Shelly said...

why do you find it necessary to race bait. why did you not lead off with the story that all were invited but not all participated. and why does the observer run this as a headline. all ridiculous.

Shamash said...

The Most Segregated Hour in America.

Yep. It's Churchtime.

Maybe they'll do the black edition in February.

Anonymous said...

Do we is not be brother-mens and friend girls in the meaning of charity and those words of Christ. When you stand naked in front of the man on judgement day, and lo is judgement day is coming, it won't matter to Jesus the size of you wallet or his skin color. I know, right?

Anonymous said...

Good call. Funk def race baiting but that is the fav past time of liberal dimo "rats" and they dont call them rats for nuttin ...

As far as Sunday being the most segregated hour, who the hell cares?
NO social engineering for Sundays or Saturdays (the real sabbath) since Sunday is the 1st day of the week per the Romans who invented the current calender 1700 yrs ago.

Anonymous said...

One thing I have LEARNT about racism, is anyone that says it's not a factor, is the RACIST.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:56

An example of a black prayer?

Anonymous said...

Our State is just a horribly written magazine.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure god doesn't care about the color of the writer. There is nothing "shocking" here other than a feeble attempt to find news where there is none, or to manufacture news.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know a prayer collection from a privately owned magazine requires or even needs "diversity"

But this commentary really should have ended up in the trash can when the editor told you they requested a prayer from 3 black ministers.

All the more evidence this is just a sad contrived hit piece.
If you value diversity then write about it on your editorial column. You write for a newspaper.... You don't have to waste your spot on the page talking about what another publcation is or isn't doing.

BTW I looked at the opinion column staff and there are no hispanic or asian columnists and ony 1 woman (25%)but women make up over 50% of the population... Apparently 75% of North Carolnians are white males.
Mayybe Our State magazine will run a hit piece on that next month.

Anonymous said...

As usual - Tim Funk personal agenda...which he has the right to do as long as his bosses agree. And obviously, they do ( which is why I have not paid for a subscription in years). Sigh. Perfect time of the year to try and cause more division in society. Way to go.

Anonymous said...

What an absurd attempt at an article. Surely, there are actual issues to be writing about out there?

Anonymous said...

Tune in next week when Tim exposes WTVI for running a block of British television shows on Sunday night while including other countries and 4 of 5 shows only have white people cast.

Anonymous said...

It's times like this we all really miss Ken Garfield.

But I guess the Observer settles for what it can afford ... in this case, worthlessness.

Amanda Pasquarello said...

Do you really believe that God listens to prayers differently because of the color of someone's skin? Congratulations, you have taken something as beautiful and as pure as a prayer and attempted to turn it into a racial issue? This is reverse racism at its finest! Do you really believe the magazine only chose to print white pastor's prayers? Please get over yourself! What was your ultimate goal in publishing this garbage? You must be having a slow week! I really wish the Observer would stop allowing these "bloggers" to over reach and grasp at anything just to get their garbage published. Sir, I will be praying for you, unless of course you wish for me not to since I am white. This commentary is junk!

Randy Cline said...

Really? My God doesn't care what color or gender or nationality the person offering prayer is. Pity that the CO recruits people to search under every rock for some instance of racism.

Anonymous said...

If RACE was that non-important, then why are so many WHITE NC Citizens offended by Tim's blog.

Sounds like the old where there's Smoke there's Fire.

Anonymous said...

Where's Tim's article pointing out that there are zero Protestants on the United States Supreme Court?

Anonymous said...

Why are you assuming what race anyone is if you aren't racist?
But to teh point many people made, most people don't believe God sees color or that the color of someone's skin makes their prayer any less or more important to God. And then there is the the issue that the magazine actually requested input from the population of people that the author and you are critizisng them for not including

Anonymous said...

Tim, I have a brilliant idea for you; Go complain the magazine instead of acting like a typical liberal crybaby and complaining to your readers.

The magazine does have an e-mail address and a letter to the editor page.

Anonymous said...

Tim, ever wonder why "there are no non-Christians. No Muslims, no Buddhists, no Hindus.?

The answer could be that these religions do NOT celebrate the Christian birthday of Jesus.

CHRISTmas is for one thing; to celebrate the birthday of the CHRIST child.

Anonymous said...

North Carolina has Spanish Moss, where?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you cry about it Tim?

Anonymous said...

What is ironic is that the commentary Mr Funk presents about the lack of diversity in the state magazine, gives a window into his own lack of acceptance of what diversity is. He just cherry picked an issue.
I mean if our state is so diverse shouldn't he be complaining the magazine endorsed a religion?
...Why didn't he ask why they didn't have an atheist viewpoint about Christmas or prayers from all denominations? Was there a Catholic or Greek orthodox prayer included? Were the prayers only protestant?
Do they print prayers for holidays celebrated by other religions. Why is he not looking into any of this? Maybe it is his own bias and his own religion clouding his open mindedness about the diversity of our state.
Where is the Spanish version of Our State magazine? Or the Spanish version of the Observer. I guess we wont see that commentary because Charlotte and our state apparently aren't diverse enough to have a population of people who only speak spanish (end sarcasm).
We can all cherry pick in the name of "diversity" But now we know where Mr Funks' biases and exclusions lie... Maybe he only cares about English speaking protestant christians in his view of our "diverse" state.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it obvious that the people with color could care less about this magazine. Who gives a flippin nickle

Anonymous said...

Typical left wing kook talking points. Good thing the media exists or all the morons like this would have to go out into the real world and work for a living. Enjoy your do nothing job while it lasts because it isn't going to last much longer.

Anonymous said...

If it is a Christmas edition, as the cover suggests, why would the magazine invite non-Christians to write paryers for a holiday they don't celebrate?

Anonymous said...

Things like this make me proud to be an atheist.

bobcat99 said...

Well, Tim, you know any time you write anything whatsoever about race in Charlotte, you're going to get lots of comments. It's sad that, in 2013, race is still such online click bait. Anyone who points out obvious race-based slights and disparate treatment is branded a "liberal" and that horror of a word is supposed to stop all conversation the way "communist" used to. I guess that is a lot better than what I heard people being called for pointing these things out when I was younger. Thanks for having the courage to stick your neck out when you know some folks will just want to chop off your head.

David Godfrey said...

AT 11:36 AM..... The only fire is in your head. The "why" is because I, like many others, refuse to let the race card be pulled on us anymore.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article, Tim. I thought it was presented in a fair manner. Based on the anger, insults and vitriol that's been directed toward you, you've touched a nerve. Apparently, some white 'christians' in this state don't like your observations. I wonder why they don't practice the lessons taught by Jesus?

Anonymous said...

It was 2 hated older white preacher males and their hated non-pc christian prayers that set off these rogue demonic infested atheist homos and pedophiles with the ignorant article.
These are your typical psycho vitriol rotten to the core sick liberals and and race baiting TF knew exactly what he was doing but at least he a man about it and not censoring.

Anonymous said...

Tim Funk here<

I'm not sure who to address this to since so many who made such bold comments declined to use their names. Anonymous? Why not claim your opinions by using your names?

But I did want to point out a few things related to the comments:

1) I did do a column a year or so ago on the fact that there are no longer any Protestants on the U.S. Supreme Court.

2) The December Our State issue does have a Christmas cover, but it's not true that the editor only asked Christian clergy to write these prayers. A rabbi from Wilmington is included. So why not a few other non-Christian faiths?

3) I included the magazine editor's comment and even she wishes the prayer collection had been more diverse. For those of you who think 16 white clergy and zero clergy of color reflect North Carolina just fine, you must not be paying attention to the state around you.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noted the "prayer" that does little more than praise Dean Smith?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Funk,

Even though you got a direct quote from Our State editor-in-chief giving an honest explanation for the lack of diversity, you still chose to post your little article. What's wrong, angry that you didn't think of it first?

As a casual observer, I don't get the lib/con partisanship connection in all of this.