When considering the church as a system, one must consider those overlooked parts of the whole. I submit that, in the North American congregations, these overlooked ‘parts’ have been women, ethnic minorities, and those on the lower end of the economic scale. Ervin Laszlo describes that function in terms of values. "Values are goals which behavior strives to realize. Any activity which is oriented toward the accomplishment of some end is value-oriented activity. (p. 78)" The church, in a systems view, could be seen as a system whose parts are working together to embody the values of the gospel.
The experience of women, minorities, and the poor as feeling marginalized, rather than part of the whole, could be viewed as a manifestation of non-optimum performance. I anticipate that by heeding stories from the margins might move our congregations toward a more full articulation and practice of Christian faith. Incorporating the story as told by marginalized persons recognizes a new significance of part of the whole Christian body. It will also support the church’s efforts to engage the unchurched with the gospel as people hear their own lives represented in the community’s self-expression. Heeding stories from the margins captures the feedback necessary for the health of the system.