Inclusive & Exclusive

The sign over the door reads "All are Welcome." Its a nice thing to say but it isn't actually true. We strive for inclusivity in our communities but we must acknowledge the need to exclude some. If we want to include women than it is important that we do our best to make it a safe place for them. Part of making a community a safe place might mean excluding those who prey on them. We might hope for a community in which people from every tongue tribe and nation can gather and that might mean that our communities are no place for the hateful racist. It seems that inclusivity itself will mean some degree of exclusivity. There has to be a line that would exclude those who 'disqualify' themselves by the ways they endanger others.

This is a dangerous thing however given the very real presence of prejudice in our own hearts. Some communities might exclude people that are actually no threat at all because they just feel threatened. We have to push ourselves in an effort of hospitality to welcome and love the 'unlovable'. There has to be a place for the repentant child molester and the recovering racists. There has to be a place in our communities where those who have misused there liberty might regain and rebuild trust.  We must not exclude the sinners and lepers like the pharisees whom Jesus' so harshly corrected. We also must be Shepherds that protect the flock and do not allow sheep to be consumed by wolves. This tension strips us of any easy answers in regards to our exclusion of others. There are some who devour others like a wolf and they are not to be welcomed into the flock they seek to destroy. Also we must celebrate every sinner who returns home. There is a place for everybody who would not harm the safety of anybody.  Though I guess a sign over the door the read "Anyone who would not harm the weakest among us is welcome" doesn't have the same ring does it? All are not welcome.


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