Damn you Twitter. I mean seriously, another thread of Christians arguing about what it means to be a Christian and a Jesus follower and a progressive and a conservative and all the big names are weighing in and wow....
I had 5 responses written before remembering that I made a promise to myself to never engage in debate via Twitter.
So, I'll vent here.
It all started with Jonathan Merritt saying this: Progressive Christians like to pretend they are welcoming, inclusive, enlightened and all those nasty conservatives are hateful, oppressive ogres. But many progressive Christians have become what they claim to dislike so much.
You could read the entirety of the Tweet thread here if you care.
But, it does bring up a point that is brought up often. And one I've thought a lot about because I've been accused of it many times, myself.
You can't claim to be welcoming and inclusive to everyone and then not welcome and include people who disagree with you.
So, a few things I think we need to start getting out there into the world.
1. Being hateful and oppressive anytime, to anyone, is not a good thing for the world.
2. Claiming to be welcoming and inclusive to everyone, is really tough. Even Jesus wasn't. Unless we think calling someone a "son of Hell" and a "brood of vipers" (along with some other gems) is welcoming and inclusive...
3. To claim all conservatives are hateful and oppressive ogres is ridiculous. The word "all" is usually a bad sign in any statement. (It's wild that the Christian tradition says all things will be reconciled.)
4. Someone can claim to be welcoming and inclusive to everyone except people who are hateful, oppressive ogres - especially those who do it in the name of a hateful, oppressive, ogre God. By the way, that is what I claim. (Yes, this is not perfect, because my judgment of who is hateful and oppressive and an ogre can be poisoned by ego and shame and pride. I admit that.) It's what I strive to do better though while striving not to be hateful and oppressive and an ogre, myself. (And what I think Jesus generally modeled for us.)
5. Welcoming and inclusion is not the same as love. Jesus loved the world, including Pharisees. But, he did not invite the hateful, oppressive Pharisees to be his disciples and to hang out with him at the parties of prostitutes, tax collectors and others... and when he did, they usually left pretty quick.
6. Do hateful, oppressive, dehumanizing ogres want to be at parties of welcoming and inclusion? I feel like they wouldn't like that party in the same way I don't want to be at a White Supremacist party. I'm fine they don't welcome and include me. I'm honored. So, I don't argue that White Supremacists should include me? (This is why Heaven would honestly be Hell to lots of hateful, oppressive people who think that some people don't belong there.)
7. I'm not welcoming and inclusive to everyone, but I really want to be to the people who feel like no one is welcoming and inclusive to them and especially to the ones that feel like there is a god who isn't welcoming and inclusive of them (usually not Pharisees.)
Bonus: Complex thoughts don't fit into 280 characters. No Twitter debates Ryan. Ever.