As with most groups in our society, inclusion of a few and exclusion of others is usually involved. Groups are generally based on similar interests, types of people or situations. Religion is of no difference. As I see it however; Christianity should be different, as it’s roots and beginnings are much different then all others. The deepest impulse of the Bible is toward inclusion, that all of God’s creatures be accorded dignity, respect, safety and a sense of belonging.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that is largely exclusionary that debilitates, divides, excludes and distinguishes between the haves and the have not’s.
In our newly formed home group we decided to start with the study of Acts, which is quite fitting for a new home group as Acts is a book about new beginnings. A new church, new law. God living within us, speaking to us and healing thru us. New believers and people meeting not only in church on Sunday, but in homes all week, eating, praying, studying and loving God together. We find that God is announcing that there shall be no more exclusion or hint of it, but total inclusion of all people.
There was always tension between the Old Testatment Jews and the non-Jews (the outsiders known as the Gentiles). Jews believed they were chosen by God to only be able to worship God. They also believed that they came from God and the Gentiles not so. And although they really were no better then the Gentiles, they felt they had to work harder to please God. They were very harsh in the judgement of the Gentiles behavior that failed to respect God’s laws, and always felt the Gentiles had to be put in their place and kept at arms length. And now they find that even the Gentiles are included in this plan of salvation.
Today, Christian communities and their congregations seem to think that they have exclusive rights to God and to Salvation. That they somehow are above others and just as the Jews were, are harsh in their judgements and treatment of others or outsiders, because they don’t understand them.
Just as the Jews felt the Gentiles had no right to be included due to their lack of keeping the laws that were given to them, Christians today like to divide. To pick and choose those, they feel should be excluded from their churches: to worship, to follow Jesus and receive the free gift of salvation. That is not their right. Only God gets that choice, and God NEVER chose to divide or exclude based on anything other then you walking away from him and not believing in his plan of Salvation. THEY DO NOT get to spell out how or what someone’s walk with God should be or should look like. They do not get to choose who is in or out. God’s plan is perfectly Inclusive of ALL people who wish to come to him.
Acts 2:21 God does not exclude anyone who calls on the name of the one and only true Lord. In verse 2:17 God says, “He will pour out his spirit on ALL people”
God used persecution to cause the quickest expansion of a “new faith” in the history of the world.
God does great and wonderful things and wishes for all people to be saved. Which is why I believe he hasn’t come back yet. Did you ever stop to think that perhaps, God waited until the controversy of Gay Marriage and inclusion of the Gay community into the church came to fruition to start a new thing?
Or perhaps it could be the acceptance of Transgenderism. Perhaps he is waiting for more Muslims to see the darkness of Islam and to turn to Christ, which thousands daily are turning to Christ. Waiting for vary large controversy to stir up the hearts and minds of Christians to shed light on how their ostracization has truly split and divided the church? God always has a timing and waiting for everything.
Christians love to complain about how people or certain groups of people have gone down a path of destruction. Into sexual perversion, drugs, alcoholism, prostitution, worshiping the devil, and all kinds of others things they say disgust them. But the truth be known. The Christians are the ones who threw them into those pits, by excluding them from the church and their lives. Parents who thru out their own child because they came out to their parents as being homosexual.
Everyone wishes to be a part of a group or something special. Being a part of God is one of those things that due to the Holy Spirit, spoken of in Acts, living innately within all of us, is that, which draws us to need, seek and want God. Yes.. even us; the vile and disgusting homosexuals who God wants nothing to do with. But when you throw people out, they will and do search for places where they are accepted and included, and most of the time, if that place is not church or the home they grew up in, then it leads them to the dark places of the world. So next time you so called perfect and sinless Christian’s complain about the path that some have taken, step back, and take a look at yourself first. How you shunned us and quite honestly threw us out into the streets to become exactly what you wanted us to be. The broken. The depressed. The addicted. The marginalized. Your excluded trash.
Because you don’t understand people who don’t fit in your perfect little narrow minded box of what Christian’s should look and act like doesn’t make us the worst or most detestable to God. This doesn’t give you the right to take passages out of the bible and out of context and use them to clobber and to knock down those who you don’t understand, to make you feel better about yourself. Let’s not forget that your divorce, your re-marriage, your lying, your gossiping, your slander of us, your heterosexual affairs, and your sex before marriage is just as detestable to him. It’s no better and it’s no worse. It is all equal sin and all equally forgivable.
Stop and think about it. Those of us who have been put thru your hatred and your bullying and still desire to worship God, could quite possibly earn more rewards in heaven then those of you who got the easy path.
There are groups of people that I just can’t wrap my head around either, but instead of excluding them from my life, from church or suppressing them from knowing the life and teachings of Jesus, I would prefer to sit at the table with them, as Jesus did and would do, and have a normal conversation. To know what makes them tick. To love them and to understand them as an equal human as Jesus has asked of us to do.
Being Gay and having now been in Church for three years now, I have experienced all sides. I have felt shunned, I have felt detested and I also have been loved beyond measure. And the longer I attend church, the more I see that God is working miracles and something big is happening.
I see and read about hundreds and thousands of those in the LGBT community finally standing up and saying to religion. WE have had enough. WE are going to worship God and if you don’t like it, WE don’t care. WE will create our own churches. WE will be the leaders. WE will be the doers, and WE will be the lovers of Jesus that He created us also to be. WE, just like you were made just as we are. Unlike you, WE will disciple and help to convert. WE will not suppress anyone. WE will open our communities to everyone, just as God and Jesus wanted it. WE will take the church back to its all inclusive roots. WE will welcome all people into our doors. The Jews. The Atheists. The Gentiles. The hungry, the poor and oh… WE will feed them to. You don’t have to believe in Jesus… just come on in. WE will welcome you here.
That is what my new church (Mission Gathering) is all about. We are a new beginning. A New life. A New love. I have only been attending here for about four months now, and although my last church was filled with love, something happened there last year that I ended up falling away and hating God as well as infuriating anger at some of the members there for almost the entire year.. It was rough. My mid-life crisis didn’t help that situation much either. But this new church…. Doesn’t just say all are welcome, but they live it.
And what happens when you open your doors to all? You create something new. You bring more people to the “Good News” and the word of God as it was intended. You bring more people to the table of Jesus. Which leads to more believers and followers of Jesus. It creates lives being transformed from caterpillars crawling in the dirt to beautiful butterflies with wings spread wide and flying high in the love of God. It brings more to his plan of salvation.
This is why He waits to come. Wanting more of his children to come to him for salvation. To make a true decision for themselves. Not by what they were told as a young child or adult. How they are hated and excluded for being different. But the TRUTH of how they are fully loved, fully accepted and fully forgiven by God.
Hatred has NEVER…. EVER… brought anyone towards anything that is fruitful. Love has always, and will always win.
My fellow Christians, I beg you to to stop separating, bullying, and lying and start uniting as at the day of Pentecost in the Book of Acts. To start converting. Stop dissuading and suppressing. Stop using clobber versus because that’s what you know. How about you study and actually read your bible and learn that those verses you have drilled into your head by fellow Christians, priests, television, magazines, etc.. are out of context and are complete crap. I urge you to stand together in a common goal and not get caught up in antics or what you believe is theological correctness.
Division is what got us all here in the first place. Jesus doesn’t choose sides, and neither should we. As a nation and even as Religion, we would all be better served if we all just loved and treated each other with the respect and dignity that God taught us to be.
Regardless of who you are or where you are at in life, don’t let any Christian, or their church tell you that you are not welcome or included in God’s plan of salvation and forgiveness. That you aren’t welcome in their church to fully partake of all they have to offer. If you are made to feel that way. Run. And run fast and as far away from it as you can. Find another place that will welcome you.
I pray you will or have found a place of safety. A place to partake. Don’t just settle in. Get involved. Volunteer. Join a group of fellow members in study and life. Soak it all in. Times of both good and bad will always be around in life, but knowing the truth and living it with others will help you survive and enjoy all that God has to offer.