WHAT WE MEAN BY "INCLUSIVE"
Brian McLaren's chapter on "Why I Am Incarnational" in A Generous Orthodoxy should be required reading of all self-identifying evangelicals. He challenges the fear-based isolation and labeling that has come to define evangelicalism at the turn of the 21st century. Here are a few excerpts. Notice how McLaren follows Jesus in his focus and emphasis:
MOVE TOWARD PEOPLE. “Because we follow Jesus, because we believe Jesus is true, and because Jesus moves toward all people in love and kindness and grace, we do the same. Our Christian identity must not make us afraid of, superior to, isolated from, defensive or aggressive toward, or otherwise hostile to people of other religions. Rather, the reverse.”
A COME-ON-IN GROUP. “Jesus didn’t want to create an in-group that would banish others to an out-group; Jesus wanted to create a come-on-in group, one that sought and welcomed everyone. Such a group came not to conquer, not to badger, not to vanquish, not to eradicate other groups, but to save them, redeem them, bless them, respect them, befriend them, and embrace them.”
THREATENED WITH INCLUSION. “Jesus threatened people with inclusion; if they were to be excluded, it would be because they refused to accept their acceptance. If people rejected his acceptance, he did not retaliate against them, but submitted himself to humiliation, mistreatment, even crucifixion by them.”