For most Christians, one of the points of the whole thing is to get other folks involved. Christians invite others to church, host concerts, visit homes and start clubs all in the hopes that ultimately, more can be brought into the fold. Unfortunately, this new inclusion comes with strings attached. Behaviors are expected to change, relationships might even be expected to be ended, and decisions are expected to be made differently. So, if these things don’t happen, the newly included members find themselves once again on the outside, feeling duped and jaded.
A lot of the time, Christians try to win souls and convert heathens with a slick sales job. Preachers preach in a way that is conversational, singers sing in a style that sounds familiar, Bible verses are inserted places they just don’t belong, and cartoon tracts are passed out, all in the hopes that those outside of the club will want to join.
I wonder if more folks would be inclined to become a part of a faith community if we drew bigger boundaries instead of tried to be better salespersons.
What if instead of making people think like us, we valued creativity where we saw it?
What if instead of narrowly defining love, we blessed love in every form?
What if instead of thinking heaven can be measured in inches, we thought the gates could be flung open wide to let anyone come in?
What if instead of making rules that people had to follow, we acknowledged that grace was freely given?
What if instead of drawing small circles around us, we began to live outside of all of our boundaries?
What if instead of trying to insulate ourselves from others, we lived with an ethic of risk present in every action?
What if instead of trying to define who our neighbor is, we just decided to be one to everybody?
By drawing the circle wider to include those we want to keep outside, by living with an ethic of risk that only love can sustain, and by tearing down the comfortable walls we’ve built to keep ourselves insulated, we just might get at the Kingdom of God Jesus envisioned.