Why does the word inclusion make many of us Christian people cringe?
We often want to include only our preferred group, those who think like us, and have faith like us. 'If you think differently, we feel you should stay in your own group and leave us alone.'
Sorry to say I used to feel the same way, but thankfully:
I have changed my mind.
I am not necessarily just talking about organized religion or institutional church. I refer to accepting all people in our daily lives. We see so much of this within Christianity with such a wide variety of denominations and differing interpretations of the bible.
We also see it from Christians not being accepting to those outside the faith. In these cases, it is usually even worse: African-American, White, LGBT, Atheist, Muslim, Jew ... and on it goes. We seem to think as believers in God we need to separate ourselves from those who see things differently. Perhaps we think we should not associate with those who see things from a different perspective.
In actuality, behind all the labels we attach to people, we are all basically the same. So why not associate, socialize and get to know people who we feel are different to us? We can learn from one another, get to know one another and find that we are not all that different.
We see Jesus do this all the time when reading the gospels in the bible. He did not differentiate people based on their religion, belief, sexuality, lifestyle or nationality. He did not separate himself from those who thought, believed and lived differently. He loved and accepted all people.
Obviously loving and accepting people does not mean we always agree nor are we always going to get along in life and live happily ever after. Yet, I believe it does mean treating others with the same respect, kindness, acceptance and love of God through the power of the Spirit within.
Inclusion is not a bad word. It is not an unholy way to live. Inclusion is about ALL of us. Inclusion is about living full lives and learning to live together.
Inclusion makes the world our classroom for a full and meaningful life. Inclusion treasures diversity and builds community. Inclusion is about our abilities and gifts and how to share them.
Inclusion is the way of God and the way of showing the love of God to all we meet.
Jim was raised in the methodist church and spent nearly sixty years in the organized church. He and his wife became dissatisfied with the way things were going and became very disillusioned the weekly service format. After several years of looking for answers and trying different churches, they left the religious system and have been living for God outside the walls of religion and traditional church. Jim believes that God loves all people and that everyone should be loved and accepted as is. Jim started writing a blog called Done with Religion where he talks about various topics of christian living in non-religious ways. Jim and his wife live in the Columbus, Ohio area of the USA. They enjoy their family, traveling and meeting people from all walks of life.
See all previous articles by Jim Gordon