I want the radically inclusive church. I mean, really radically inclusive.
A few years ago, the big buzz you heard at all the UU things was "Radical Hospitality." I went home from GA or Fall Conference or wherever it was, and looked on half.com for a book about radical hospitality. Found one. Bought it.
Boy, was this NOT the book all the UU's were talking about.
Puhleease, we talk about radical hospitality and often what we mean is "don't ignore people when they come into your church." That's not radical anything.
This book I picked up was written by some missionary-type Christians. They talked about picking up homeless folks and taking them home with them. And that, my friends, is radical hospitality. Not that I'm recommending you (or I) do the same. Just don't pat yourself on the back because you engaged someone in conversation and think that you're radically hospitable.
So, forgetting missionaries for the moment, what do I think RADICAL inclusivity within a UU church would look like?
Well, I can thank The Husband for this. As I mentioned earlier, I recently preached a sermon on Isaiah 6:8 at my seminary. I said "God" - a lot. I talked about being convicted by the Holy Spirit.
I am not a Christian. My definition of "God" is most probably quite different from that of my classmates. But I tell you and mean it: I did not say a single thing I don't believe.
The Husband heard my sermon, a few hundred times. (Well, I practiced it a lot, I knew I wasn't using a script.) It's a great sermon, he said. You should give it at church.
Uh, yeah, with a whole lot of editing.
See, I don't understand that, he said. (He is often about UU things as I am about communion -- if you didn't grow up with them, they're odd.) "UUs talk about being so pluralist, so inclusive. We have banners on the wall from different religions. So, you should be able to stand up and do that sermon."
Rabbi Shaman and I were talking about this recently. About having a UU message from the pulpit, but utilizing religious language that is Jewish, Christian, Pagan, Muslim, all those cool symbols and flags we post around the church ...
I think that would be radically inclusive. I don't think radically inclusive means that you exclude anything that might push someone out of their comfort zone.
Of course, you could have a church where the vast majority love the sort of language used by Christopher Hitchens.
Maybe the next "radical" that we're going to embrace is "radical congregational polity."
Huh. Now that might be interesting.