Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 96; 147:1-11, Hosea 3:1-5, Acts 21:15-26, Luke 5:27-39
Inclusiveness is a challenging concept. When we say people are welcome in our community, do we mean we welcome them as they are, or that we invite them to become more like us? Each community has fundamental values that are central to its identity, so we can usually assume those values appeal to people who wish to join. However, new arrivals frequently challenge customs and traditions, and most communities work harder to maintain them than to discover if they are, in fact, essential. Because communities of faith are voluntary, inclusivity presents a particular challenge, as those who are uncomfortable with it are free to depart to form or join more comfortable (that is, homogeneous) groups, and leaders don’t like to lose members.
When Paul returned to Jerusalem, the Jewish Christians elders welcomed…
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