Wednesday, May 04, 2011

how radical is YOUR welcome?

Radical welcome is easy to talk about. It's easy to write about in your Rule of Life. Last Thursday, we got to the hard part: the practice of radical welcome.

A man - we'll call him Pete - took a seat in the pews, and I invited him to join us around the altar foradical welcome_handsr worship. He seemed engaged enough, until I finished offering the reflection, a meditation on the first commitment in our Rule of Life, the commitment to practice Radical Welcome (embracing the gifts and voices and wisdom of The Other, such that we and our communities are changed).

When we opened for comments, Pete spoke up, said he didn't understand how we could call ourselves Christians if the women were sitting with their heads uncovered. Then he questioned how faithful we could be to the Bible, considering we have a woman minister.

It could have degenerated into a shouting match. People could have ignored him, frozen him out or shut him down. Instead, throughout the rest of the evening - including during Open Space and later at Fajitas n Ritas - I saw person after person engage truthfully, lovingly and energetically with Pete. Folks offered their stories and their love of the Bible and of God, and welcomed him to share his passion for God and reverence for God's word, and how all that had led him to our door. It became a teaching moment, and yes, Pete did quite a lot of the teaching.

Will he be back this week? I hope so. Not because I want to slam his logic and convince him that "we" are right, not because I expect he'll convince me that women shouldn't be priests, but because walking together is bound to expand all of our hearts. And because - sigh - the only way we're gonna get to the kingdom is together.

Click here to read the full Life @ The Crossing email blast for May 4. It's got even more articles, news and updates.

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