Monday, June 04, 2007

The weakest of these

(Blogging for LGBT families, one day late.)

“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”"
There are many arguments to be made for and against inclusivity in the church (and in the rest of the world as well). On the one hand, there are many prooftexts one can point to, some easier to reject or interpret in context than others.

The gospel speaks to us of many things - but one of the key ideas that comes up consistently and repeatedly is the idea that Christians are to have a very special vision of the future potential of the world - what the world could be.

What are we to do?

“Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
We are called to a radical mission of healing the world through love, and we are told to pay particular attention to those who are ignored or abandoned by the rest of the world - the one lost sheep.

In that context, exclusion is perverse. Exclusion hurts those who have the fewest resources best, even as those most hurt are also those with the least ability to defend themselves or otherwise deal with the exclusion.

Thus, when we are faced with people who are standing up for themselves, we need to remember that these are the exceptions to the rule. These are the folk who expect to be taken seriously, who can justify taking the risk they do in order to make things right. People with less privilege simply can't afford to pay the price that comes with standing up for oneself.

Two friends of mine - a queer couple - have told me how having a child completely changed the way they dealt with being out and with homophobia. Suddenly, the equation was more complex: they refused to take the chance of exposing their child to people who might give this child the idea that his family is somehow less ok or broken, and they couldn't through their own behaviour suggest this might be the case. Being out and honest with the world, but simultaneously more careful about the environments they were in, became the new normal.

Exclusion hurts most those with the fewest resources.

How can an organization built for a marginal people struggling to forge an identity in the face of empire justify aligning itself with oppression?

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