Inclusion/Exclusion

I hope you might join me in a new blog venture that hopefully will wind up becoming my next book venture.
inclusionexclusion.wordpress.com

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Our subject matter is one that is hard to navigate. Not because it is impossible, but that the two sides either seek to run each other over because the double yellow line seems to be missing -or- that there is a medium wall built so high by some that you couldn’t see the other side of the road if you wanted too. The fact remains that there are two sides of the road here. Two lines of thought that are pertinent and biblical. Inclusion. Exclusion. These two sides of the road help define what we understand about the subject of salvation. A salvation offered by a God who both loves us and commands us to follow if we are to achieve such a redemption. Salvation is God’s work. If we have our eyes open as we read the scriptures we cannot help but see that some requirements have been laid upon us as well in this holy process. God embraces. We come closer. Grace draws us. We respond in faith. “For by grace you have been saved, through faith” We are absolutely in need of understanding what our part is in this much beleaguered subject of salvation.

We live in a world where people want to be included. People want to be loved. We also live in a world where requirements and laws are an absolute if we are to maintain an orderly society. Practice and polity need each other. Otherwise, this need to be included runs amuck with the scent of anarchy as people do anything they want to feel loved. The other side of the coin is true also. Without love, the legality of life buries us under a weight of guilt and shame. There is inclusion and there is exclusion. There is a door open for all to enter. After we enter, we find out whether or not we want to stay in the room. Does this crowd promote the kind of atmosphere I can blend with or not? It is a question we need to ask. We need to read the Bible seriously and ask ourselves if this kind of religion is one we can go along with or, do we need to find something else to believe in? The Bible is full of requirements for the Christian to take seriously. We want to be loved and we also need to give & show love. Love is the truest two way street we can find.

In this world of multiple viewpoints, I think all we believe and want can be boiled down to two paths. We want the freedom to do whatever we want however we want to do it and we want to leave people out who don’t agree with us or see our point of view. Somehow, we think the first one is inclusive only to find out how divisive it winds up being and we can’t see how destructive the latter is as we excluded everyone and everything with which we disagree. Inclusion and exclusion are vital and important. It is human being who can’t figure out how to practice our religion properly in the dual field. We want to favor one and drop the other. It is imperative that we grasp how to see what God want to show us. God loves us. God includes us. And, there are moments when God, like a good parent, sends us to our room while “the adults talk”. Everything is not for our ears. We don’t need to know everything. One of my biggest peeves when I was a kid was when dad would tell us to go. For whatever the reason, we didn’t need to be in the room. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to be excluded. But, maybe it was for my own good. maybe dad needed to talk to mom (about me) and the words weren’t for my little ears. There are moments in life when exclusion is essential. What we need to be sensitive to is that when exclusion is over that we call the kids back in to the room and invite them to rejoin us again. To often, we would rather leave them in their rooms. Cut off from the family circle, surely we can enjoy some peace and quiet. However, their growth and nurture should be far more important.

Can we translate this in to terms we can understand in our life of faith? I think we successfully can. I hope you’ll join me as I seek to put us on the road to more fully understanding what God wants from us and for us. In the process, we should better understand who God is and why there is so much love for humankind. Lets journey together.

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7 Replies to “Inclusion/Exclusion”

  1. Fascinating. I’m looking forward to it. But I’m not sure I agree with this:
    “We want the freedom to do whatever we want however we want to do it and we want to leave people out who don’t agree with us or see our point of view. ”

    Personally, I’m searching for the ‘right’ answer. I don’t think I have heard anyone who has the absolute, Gospel take on issues of inclusion and exclusion. But I’m very interested and willing to listen.

    1. Thanks Tom. I don’t know that I’ll have the “right answer” for you. I’m going to offer up what the scriptures have to say on these matters. You can choose to agree with that or disagree. Freewill is a dastardly thing. I appreciate your honesty. I, too, am seeking for the “right answer”. Hopefully we’ll find it together.

  2. So, what specifically does inclusion/exclusion cover here? Universalism (Christian, Hindu, etc), differences in Christian denominations (UMC vs Nazarenes vs Calvinism), sin definition, inerrancy/non-inerrancy, gay issues? Seems like it could be too wide a category, without some narrowing of subjects.
    “How Salvation works in the bible” doesn’t narrow it down for me.

    1. The subjects themselves are quite broad. Yes, they will cover many blanket and include many different subjects within them. However, our focus is on what God to say to us. There what we are truly seeking. What does God have to say to us about inclusion & exclusion? We could get lost wandering through the wild blue yonder as we look at all these other subjects that may or may not tie in with the two words at our hand. Or, we could focus on what God wants to say to us.

  3. I would think you would want this blog to be about “How Salvation Works From a Wesleyan Perspective”; which probably comes closest to being about how salvation works in the Bible. Wesley was not working off his own understanding. He had immersed himself in the Bible as well as various traditions. He then blended different aspects of them into what became Methodism.

    1. While I appreciate the Wesleyan perspective and have been a UMer for 13 years now and was a Nazarene for 10 years before that, I think the Bible can speak for itself. I do not wish to hide behind a denominational perspective on matters like this. I think we’ll see as we go along here that the Bible gives us clear answers and God will speak to our hearts. I hope you’ll be there to hear God speak.

  4. I am glad to read your article. I was bothered by the teaching of exclusion/inclusion in the Bible, such as Dt 23:1-8. You point out a good direction to think of this important issue–along the line of Salvation. Thank you for your article and keep the good work for the good Lord.

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