August 24, 2009

Encouraging Words 8/24/09-Preaching Inclusion

We found this message at a site called Inclusive Orthodoxy. There are many other resources at that site, but we particularly wanted to share this one with you today.

We believe that all people are included in the Gospel invitation, and we affirm that there is a place within the full life and ministry of the Christian Church for faithful believers regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation, both those who are called to lifelong celibacy and those who are partnered.

Jesus' ministry was radically inclusive, challenging social, cultural, and religious traditions and beliefs which devalued any human being. In a culture where tax collectors were corrupt and despised, he broke bread with them and shared a meal (Matthew 9:9-13). The Pharisee's were confused by this and exclaimed, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"

In a world of innumerable purity laws and cultural norms which governed interactions between Jews and Gentiles, as well as between men and women, Jesus, when sitting at a well, asked a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. She exclaimed, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (John 4:1-42).

Wherever he went Jesus broke taboos, and cultural boundries which dehumanized and segregated people. He gave attention to the outcasts of society– the sick, the handicapped, and even those who were demonically possessed. He was also concerned about those on the fringe of society– the poor and marginalized, confronting those in power who considered themselves to be superior.

Click here to read the rest of this message.

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