In my last blog ‘Your IN’ we began the conversation around INCLUSIVITY which has become a challenged word in some Christian circles, although society at larger are equally talking it, just look at the recent debate coming from the Oscars of 2016 etc. I Continue in the conversation but listing several marks of Jesus kind of inclusivity…? I wonder?
Do I have my own theology of inclusion?
Here are some key considerations the kind of Jesus inclusion we should show
…recognises, values, loves and celebrates the marginalised – was not Jesus from the edge of society sent to include those considered least – poor, weak, outcast, foreigners and prostitutes.
…recognises harm done in the name of God. – we cannot be followers of Christ and oppressive, you don’t have a future in being oppressed or oppressing others. We must do all to continue in love and be love the scriptures exhort us, yet many feel rejected, people say that teaching has oppressed them, tradition imprisoned and excluded them.
….should with full intention to be creating life on the margin. – our inclusive community deliberately makes a conscious and unapologetic decision to love and celebrate the Creator’s diversity welcoming all persons regardless of race, colour, ancestry, age, gender. Foundational Christian community outside the dominant culture seeing the Kingdom of God includes the margins of life. The Kingdom of God is to be inclusive, this the very nature of God. Edges will respond to people who are open and extravagant grace, where other people from the edge gather. A place to be safe what about being this kind of community
….will not imitate the church structures, but will be Church – the people of God are the sole property of God not a denomination, a person, a stream or a group. Radical inclusivity is rooted in restoration reconciliation, creational restoration, Christ filling all in all.
A free people to use their freedom to love to model and demonstrate the inclusive love of Jesus Christ.
….requires a new way of seeing and a new way of being. – celebrating one another in in Christian community – accepting, see each other as God sees us.
… is to be aware, information and understanding – creation of a Christian community among people marginalised means through education and training an understanding, developing a welcome and de-stigmatize its view of any group of people.
… will not hide, and works to undo shame and fear.
Jesus says don’t hide your ‘unacceptable’ realities so you can be accepted or embraced, In order for people on the edges to ‘be’ a community that is “naked” with their “edge-ness/marginality” in full view.
…sees fully diversity on the margin. – the margin is generally full with people who have been forced out. People on the margins are challenged to find the inter-connectedness.
… must be linked to preaching and teaching. – the Church requires preaching and teaching that defines and strengthens community by developing a biblical understanding of inclusivity.
… demands hospitality. – a hospitality where no one has to defend nor deny their place or their humanness. Listen to how Henri Nouwen says it, “Hospitality…means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not bringing men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by a dividing line. It is not to lead our neighbour into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment. It is not a method of making our God and our way into the criteria of happiness, but the opening of an opportunity to others to find their God and their way. Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to adopt the life style of the host, but the gift of chance for the guest to find his/her own.”
…is sustained & celebrated when everyone in community is responsible & accountable. – establish a belonging that includes everyone in the life of the Church, I mean every one, so we truly produce a shared life, experience in and contribute to the welfare of the whole community. A thought “freedom without responsibility and accountability is as detrimental as slavery”. Freedom is not an end itself, let me expand freedom from something must flow into freedom to be something else or it is not truly freedom.
incl US ivity