There is a great deal of talk in society and the Church about INCLUSIVENESS, you know this idea that no matter who you are, what you believe, what foibles you have you are included in things, unfortunately we are a long way from that as a society and especially as a Church we don't actually mean it and heres why. If you follow the idea of inclusiveness its great on paper, a bit like communism in theory its great, practise is a different matter entirely you see we can't actually as individuals be inclusive because our ideas get in the way, our own thoughts stop us being inclusive because we have our own ideas. In the last few weeks i have been struggling like a struggling thing in a struggling sack and actually not getting anywhere. You see I'm the real square peg in a round hole, I'm so divided at present on leaving my denomination (Methodism) and finding a new way to follow my God. You see Methodists by and large talk a good show on inclusiveness, but actually if you disagree with the held view, you get ridiculed, bullied into submission, or branded in someway or another and that happens with more regularity than is needed. You see i can claim to be inclusive but that test comes when the rubber hits the road, when something makes me exclusive i stop being inclusive. In the real world face to face you would get a punch in the head for somethings that get said online. But in our safety zone of being keyboard warriors, we think we can get away with harsh words or put down. One of the great terms used by a certain Christian group is "robust debate" what that actually means is "I'm hiding behind my keyboard, I'm never likely to meet you so i can get away with name calling, bullying you, making you look stupid" and in certain respects thats true at the keyboard you can, but lets change tact a little. If i was to turn up on your doorstep would you say the same things to my face you do away from it? 9 times out of 10 the answer is no, because you would be more concerned about the big bloke stood in front of you who you do not know that well. So it comes down to this you can conform to what is expected of you, you can do all the things you are told, all the things that make you acceptable to the masses, or you can risk Alienation from the mass, risk ridicule and bullying, but actually be an individual, you can be a square peg in a round hole.
You see our society does not cope well with the individual who stands out, if its trendy you are in, if its not you are pushed to one side and told "get with the programme" if you do you are welcomed with open arms, told you are wonderful, if you don't you sit on the sidelines and watch what happens. Jesus never excluded anyone from his presence or love, it was there and no matter what you do its there. You can disagree with him, it's still there, you can try and run away, its still there, you see its all encompassing. The worst thing that can happen for God is that the church tries to emulate society, that the church actually denies the basics of our historical faith in order to be "all things to all men" in that trying to be all things to all men we fail, because actually we have no idea half the time what we believe or why, we stall and fumble while trying to be all things, that actually we tend to end up being nothing of any use to the Kingdom of God. Not because we are failures but because we are rudderless people tossed on the sea of good intentions, tossed on the sea of happy happy. Last night i made a decision I'm no longer going to conform to what is expected of me from those who know me or don't know me, I'm no longer going to worry to much about what people think of my opinions, I'm going to shout them out loud and if you don't like them I'm afraid thats just tough. If you are actually inclusive you have no real option but to allow me to do this, you see even if you don't like what i say, even if it grates against you, you have to include me because you believe in inclusiveness, over the next few months i will see which of those who speak of inclusiveness actually are and which of those pay lip service to it. Im 50 years old this month and i think this is where I'm heading, I'm heading into uncharted territory age wise, emotionally, physically and more importantly spiritually. Its going to be one hell of a ride but i have to stay true to my God and his calling, we will see what happens.