“Inclusion elevates all”Elaine Hall
AGAINST the background of the political time in which Jesus lived, the group to which people belonged determined their life, comfort, and future. People were mainly identified by their appearance as Chaldeans, Romans, Jews, Samaritans, soldiers, artisans, fishermen, Pharisees, scribes, women, children and slaves. Each was in a class of his own and the classes did not mix. Each grouping also still had its internal politics and rivalry.
The reality was: Born poor, you die poor. In Biblical times, there was no way for lower classes to gain entrance and passage and progress to the elite class. Paul could demand the right to see Caesar, Unlike others in his time who had to buy their citizenship, such as the Roman commander in Acts 22:28, Paul was born a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37).
In Charles Vogl’s book “The Art of community” he lists seven principles for belonging: boundary, initiation, rituals, temple, stories, symbols and inner rings. Footnote Hi there, I’m reading The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging by Charles Vogl and thought you might like it. … Continue reading
The family social unity is maintained by excluding, removing, expelling any individual that proved to have sought to have preserved its own advantage at the cost of the entire group. This is common practice at any company, school, institution or social unit. OT laws are also based on how disobedience to these laws is bad for the group. Theft, murder, incest, sexual promiscuity, immorality, blasphemy, envy and greed are some actions that should be punished because the guilty individual is causing harm to the group by his rebellious deeds.
In an age where more and more identity groups are making a deliberate attempt towards total inclusion on mainstream social media regardless of whether their lifestyle choices are bad for humanity as a whole or not. These groups feel entitled to take action against mainstream humanity deemed suspicious and oppressive. Mainstream society is perceived to have attained its power and wealth through generally oppressive means. Retaliation against the social justice groups, fighting for gender, race, sexual-orientation inclusion, get the same and sometimes worst treatment of punishment than these minority groups once experienced.
The interpretation of the world through the lens of ‘social justice’, ‘identity group politics’ and ‘intersectionalism’ is probably the most audacious and comprehensive effort since the end of the Cold War at creating a new ideology. Footnote “The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity; THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER” by Douglas Murray. https://www.scribd.com/book/423478061
Jesus introduced a whole new paradigm for inclusion!
New Prerequisites For Inclusion
Our inclusion in His family and circle is not based on our righteousness: “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20).
The only work we can do for God is: “Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:28-29).
Our inclusion is not based on our contribution:
Or the righteousness of the right family: “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life” (Luke 18:29).
Or what you can give to Him: “Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:“Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20).
Or prestige, outward signs and wonders: “Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.” (Luke 17:20-21 MSG).
Or the best religious efforts and pursuits. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21).
or what we can avail by the arm of the flesh. “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” (1 Corinthians. 15:50).
Or our identification with a certain group. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:13-24).
or the proof of loyalty, excellence, or lists of good deeds. “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3).
or what we are willing to pay. “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:25).
or for personal gain and advantage. “…strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22).
Receive His Righteousness:
Having received His righteousness is our right of entry, inclusion, and legitimacy. This right of entrance and inclusion is a gift, and cannot be earned by dead religious works. When our faith is based on our righteousness we can never be certain, whether we did enough. By default we are standing outside, hoping and striving to be accepted.
This is why we are called to seek first, above all else, His rule and His righteousness.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33).
IT IS A FREE GIFT!
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10)
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32).
“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matt. 11:11).
Because of His works, His faith, His righteousness, His Sonship, His obedience, His complete requirements of the law, His faith we now have boldness to enter in!!
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.” (Heb. 10:19).
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:16)
This boldness however is not to get what we want. We do not gain access to God, so He can serve our needs! Experiencing God’s presence, you can never be the same. Seeing Him face to face changes a person from a selfish, egocentric, narcissistic existence to become like the divine. His grace is not a licence to sin, but the power to live a godly life. (2 Pet 1:3) The strength He gives to do all things, is not to serve our own ambitions and greeds, it is in order to live a godly, holy, royal live in the midst of trouble and hardship.
Born From Immortal Seed:
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13).
“Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.” (1 Pet. 1:23).
Like a boy who has been born into royalty, he awaits the day of his crowning, but in nature, and stature he already is the king. He does not have to earn or do anything to become the king. He has to be trained and taught how to be a good king, and abide to the rules and codes of the land. But by statuary law he is the rightful hear to the throne. In Christ Jesus, we have received a heavenly nobility to reign like He did.
The paradox of exclusivity.
The message of the Bible is extraordinarily inclusive. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). God wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). He loves everyone the same (Galatians 3:28).
BUT on the other hand the gospel message is radically exclusive: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6, NKJV)
Relativism, as may be asserted, is a politically correct theory that seeks to be all-inclusive. The umbrella of relativism is so broad that it allows for nearly every belief and worldview, despite creating a culture of systematic contradictions. One can believe anything they desire as long as they do not believe it to be absolutely true for anyone else. Footnote Brandon K. Sinclair The Exclusivity of the Christian Faith: A Case for Christ-Alone in a Culture of Relativism December 4, 2020 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF DIVINITY
The NT like any other institution and organisation is fundamentally exclusive, with various steps of punishment, judgement and expulsion if fruits of the life of Christ is not evident, or more directly when one sins against the whole.
Like Jesus who lived a normal artisan life, without sin. The church’s adherence to the life of Christ becomes a holy unity, a moral groundswell against evil, and destruction. This exclusivity inwardly, is what makes the church uncompromisingly salt, and light.
Jesus as the creator is calling humanity back to its’ original purpose, and divine royal mandate.
The church is exclusively inclusive!
A New Definition of ‘US’:
As the creator Jesus see all of humanity as His children (universalism) and wants to see every single person saved into their divine be-like-Jesus blueprint for life. Richard Rohr. The universal Christ – How a forgotten reality can change everything we see, hope for and believe
As new-comers in a community will know, there is always an ‘us’ and a ‘them’. Political parties, group identities, culture, family all have a definitive ‘us’ and ‘them’. Jesus is not from the World. He also said that we are not of this world, but yet still in the world. Like ambassadorial representatives from a heavenly kingdom, we demonstrate His kingdom way of ordering the world. Jesus again would explain the paradox inclusion and exclusion by telling the parable of the wedding feast: (Matthew 22:1-14) Those who were originally invited made excuses, then everyone was invited, yet in the after-life only those who were clothed with His righteousness was included into heaven’s home. True Christianity then, serves, heals, cares, and help everyone who is in need without reservation. We also do not force people to accept our believes. Dominant Christian Countries are known to be most democratic, with freedom of speech and choice.
When you and your wife fight and quarrel it is many times because one is standing outside the circle. We use YOU and YOUR language. Covenant language is “US”. Using this word forces us to think differently. We take ourselves out of the circle so many times. Or we do not allow people into our circle. Who is my neighbour? Who are we? See Luke 10: 29-37: Jesus teaches us to do the same for a stranger as we would for those in the circle. The man did what family would do for him – and he was a stranger; on the contrary, he was of a totally different class and race.
How To Define US? How to define church – US?
Do we see the place where we live as OUR town? The people of our town as OUR people?
Divisiveness: It is very dangerous to speak of “them” from within a collective framework while God sees only one “us” for example.
- Within one nation, we speak of “them”.
- Within the universal church, we speak of another church as “them”.
- Within the framework of the Christian church in an area, we speak of other congregations as “them”.
- In a company we speak of management as “them”; the management speaks of the people as “them”.
- In a marriage we talk about you and you and mine.
- “They” bring separation into your thinking and cause isolation. Your perspective becomes one-sided. You only look from one perspective and lose objectivity.
Labeling: When we speak of “them”, it is not long before we give “them” a label (Matt. 5:22). We call each other names. You are always like that, and you always do like that, and you never do. You DEMONIZE the other person as always wrong and evil, which is simply not the truth. You present yourself as the angel, which is also not the truth. Later we only see the label and not the person behind the label (DEHUMANIZATION).
Lovelessness: When we talk about “them” it can lead to pride – we disassociate with the mistakes and sins of a group and place ourselves in a better / higher / higher place. As a result, you lose your voice with that group. They experience you as PROUD, haughty and knowledgeable. They feel the separation – and experience that there is no more love. Without love you lost your voice in that group (Gal. 6: 1).
Victimization: (Matt. 5:22) “You fool!” It is natural that when you focus only on. Person’s mistakes and only notice them, you will pick on such a person. You are negative towards such a person and have an automatic renunciation. You DISASSOCATE yourself from the person. In a marriage it is very dangerous, because the result is:
- Exclusion: inaccessible, harsh and mean;
- Contempt: contempt, contempt, contempt – arrogant;
- Criticism: condemnation, judgment, disapproval.
- Demonising an identity group as inherently evil, based on outward appearances, colour, or race.
1. Try to identify positive and human qualities in the other grouping. It’s the beginning of HONOUR and RESPECT.
2. Spread the information – speak positively (Matt. 5: 46-48).
3. Pray for your enemies – when you pray, you regain God’s perspective on the person (Matt. 5:33).
4. Love your enemies – serve and minister to one another.
5. When you have something against your brother-WE – go speak it out (Matt. 18 and Luke 17).
6. When you realize your brother has something against you, leave your sacrifice and go and make amends first (Matt. 5: 23-24).
When we begin to focus on our differences, we divide humanity into groupings. We build boundaries and walls, we lose our maturity to look upon mankind divinely and objectively, we become SMALL and IMPULTS and lose authority to have a say in humanity. We lose ACCESS and we INSULATE ourselves.
The Bible says that we must separate ourselves from certain people, but it is part of a disciplinary process to win the person back to the faith. People who cut themselves off from the faith and walk away can not stop us, but we never walk away. See Chapter 13, point 6.
He Was Impartial
Do not treat the lowly and those with respect differently: “You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment. You may not be biased towards the small and do not favor the substantial. With justice you must judge your neighbor. ” (Lev. 19:15).
Make no distinction between rich and poor: Rich and poor need each other. “Rich and poor have one thing in common: the Lord made them all.” (Prov. 22: 2).
No distinction between employer and employee: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord, neither is the messenger greater than he that sent him. If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. ” (John 13:16).
Not an adopter of person: “MY brethren, let not your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, be with the adoption of the person.” (Jas. 2: 1-9).
No racial preference: “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and riches to all who call on him.” (Rom. 10:12).
No class preference: “where there is no Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scith, slave, freeman, but Christ is all and in all.” (Col. 3:11).
No titles and positions of power: “But do not be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher: Christ, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.” (Matt. 23: 8-10).
No distinction between man and woman: “There is no more Jew or Greek, there is no more slave or free man, there is no more man and woman; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28).
Those who have won share with those who have not gone to war: “No, we share equally: those who have taken care of the pack get as much as those who have gone to fight” (1 Sam. 30:24).
God does not precede anyone: “And you, owners, must act with the same responsibility towards your slaves. Stop threatening your slaves. You know that you have one and the same Owner in heaven, and that He does not prefer anyone. ” (Eph. 6: 9).
Treat each one as an individual: “Those who are still indecisive should treat you with compassion. Save others by pulling them out of the fire. ” (Jude 22–23).
“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer together; and if one member is honored, all the members rejoice together. ” (1 Cor. 12:26)
“In a real sense, all life is interrelated. All people are involved in an inevitable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
– Martin Luther King Jr
Jesus’ Impartiality and Inclusivity
Jesus eats and socializes with the people who despise and marginalize the religious leaders.
Jesus eats with Matthew (Levi), the tax collector (Matt. 9: 9-13; Mark 2: 13-17; Luke 5: 27-32). Levi is a tax collector (tax collector, hated by the Jews because they were considered traitors working for the Romans).
There was a man named Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, a rich man (Luke 19: 1-10).
The Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). “For the Son of man came not to destroy the life of man, but to save it. And they left for another town.” (Luke 9:56). The two “sons of thunder” wanted to call fire from heaven on the people who did not want to receive Him.
Factions are a work of the flesh – Gal. 5:20 (SECTARISM: sectarianism, sectarian spirit). Therefore Jesus warns against parties: Those who are not against us are for us – Mark. 9: 38-40 and Num.11: 27–29.
When the Northern Empire, with Samaria as its capital, was conquered by the Assyrians, they took many of the Jews into exile to Assyria and settled Assyrians in that region to cultivate the land and bring peace (2 Kings 17:24). This caused widespread intermarriage between the Jews and the Assyrians and led to a mixed religion and mixed group in that area. The Jews of Judah, the Southern Empire, therefore, considered the Samaritans an impure group of people and hated them because, according to the Jews, they had betrayed their people and religion. Therefore, the Jews went out of their way to avoid Samaria and the Samaritans. However, Jesus makes no distinction between Jew and Samaritan.
One of the ten lepers returning and thanking Him was a Samaritan (Luke 17: 11-19).
Samaria is included in the missionary journeys and work of the apostles (Acts 1: 8; 8: 1, 5; 9:31; 15: 3).
The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30-37).
Jesus follows a pattern that was repeated later in the Church of Acts: He begins locally, the small town, then the region, then the city, and then the corners of the world. Jesus gathers a new family, people and family of believers around Himself. Galilee: Nazareth, Capernaum, Samaria, Jerusalem. “Ye shall be witnesses against me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8).
Jesus Never Excludes Anybody
“But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4:25-27).
The place of the woman is restored: Mary anoints His feet (John 12:1-8) – a woman anoints Jesus’ feet (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3).
He does not even condemn the blatant sinner (John 8:1-11).
Jesus’ own family did not even accept Him (Matt. 12:46-50; Luke 8:19-20; John 7: 3-5; Mark 3:21).
Judas, his half-brother: “Of Judas, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.” (Jude 1: 1). He does not boast of being Jesus’ brother; he rather calls himself His servant.
Here is my family: “Do you know who my mother is and who my brothers are? He then pointed to his disciples and said, “There is my mother and my brothers. Everyone who obeys the will of my heavenly Father is my true family. ” (Matt. 12:48-50; Mark 3:33-35; Luke 2:48-49; John 7:6-8).
|↑1||Footnote Hi there, I’m reading The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging by Charles Vogl and thought you might like it. https://www.scribd.com/book/321286973/The-Art-of-Community-Seven-Principles-for-Belonging Scribd gives you monthly access to books, audiobooks, and more – for less than the cost of a paperback. Join today and start your free trial. Find out more at: https://www.scribd.com/|
|↑2||Footnote “The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity; THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER” by Douglas Murray. https://www.scribd.com/book/423478061|
|↑3||Footnote Brandon K. Sinclair The Exclusivity of the Christian Faith: A Case for Christ-Alone in a Culture of Relativism December 4, 2020 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF DIVINITY|
|↑4||Richard Rohr. The universal Christ – How a forgotten reality can change everything we see, hope for and believe|