Monday, 9 April 2012

Sue's Muse: How to be Inclusive and why some Christians need teaching

I don't normally post a religious element to my blog but I cover religious bigotry in Morning Report and Complete Faith so I thought I'd mention something that struck me last week.

I go to a very small church, and in a time when clergy was thin on the ground, a few of us became worship leaders. We took a service every so often, just to relieve the strain on the clergy team. Recently, Single Dad Laughing's post about I'm Christian Unless You're Gay reminded me of an early talk I gave on being inclusive.

I asked everyone to stand up and set a random number of questions. If the congregation answered yes to any of those questions they were sent outside.

Did you have toast this morning? Yes? Bye bye.
Are you wearing socks? Yes. So long.
Did you clean your teeth this morning? Yes? Get lost.

The point of the questions, as I'm sure you have gathered, was to make my church totally exclusive. I only wanted the people that fitted my criteria. Of course, I made it so exclusive that there was no one left to hear my talk.

I listen to the leaders of my church as they deny GBLT people equal rights, and I am reminded of that talk. Does my church only want people who fit their narrow definition of what is right to be part of their faith community? You could say that they are not saying that. All are welcome, as long as they don't expect the right to be married before God like their fellow heterosexual members of the congregation.

Do I want to be part of a faith community that excludes people for who they love? No, I don't think so. My little church prides itself on being inclusive. I want to be part of that church, but not part of the exclusive community that has forgotten a basic commandment.

 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:31, NIV)





15 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good post, Sue :) I think that most Lutheran churches in Iceland are welcoming to homosexuality. Over 75% of Icelanders are Lutherans. But then there are other religious groups that condemn homosexuality. "Funny" thing is that one of the loudest leaders of such a religious group gets made fun of when he talks about "de-homofying" homosexuals. Not fun for him, but fun (or nice) because my countrymen generally don't believe that people can be "de-homofied".

    I understand that things are very different in the USA for a very basic reason and that is that USA was built by religious groups that fled from Europe in the 1400-1500's. So these were people with VERY strict religious beliefs. I only recently learned that this is why specific morals and values are so deeply rooted into the society over there. It makes sense, but it's also time for it to change. So glad to see so many have, now we just need the rest to get with the program ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, the present religious beliefs can be traced back to fundamentalism which started around the end of the nineteenth century as a direct result of the industrial revolution and women entering the workplace. Nothing to do with religion and all to do with controlling women.

      Delete
  3. Good post, Sue, and a very, very good exercise you used in showing exclusivity.
    And isn't it funny that the very ones who use the name Christian...which in fact is a follower of Christ...do NOT follow his example?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Completely ironic that they are totally unChristian.

      Delete
  4. Powerful, Sue! I can only hope there continue to be voices out there like yours. It's so easy to become jaded and stop trying to change minds when doors are shut in your face.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been contemplating leaving the church, I must admit.

      Delete
  5. Good post Sue. I'm not sure I want to continue on being a part of any religious organization. I can't stand the hypocrisy here in the states. It's disgusting to see people act the way they do, saying that they are Christians then treating people like crap. It goes beyond Gay and Lesbian. The worst possible outcome I think I could see raising my kids in church is to have them grow up to be "good little Christians." I want them to be real, to see the good in people and to love them because of that good, not because of who they sleep with or how often they do it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why have people forgotten that element of religious practice?

      Delete
  6. Great great great post Sue. So true and so simple, yet profound.

    Tom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd forgotten how effective that talk was.

      Delete
  7. Great post Sue. I have always believed that a man's relationship with God is between him and God. Organized religion just confuses things with unnecessary ritual and middlemen. Simple truth - Do unto others

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love organised religion to share my faith. Not however when it promotes organised bigotry.

      Delete
  8. Great post Sue! Religious people can be so narrow minded. I hope someday people will see the error of their ways.

    ReplyDelete