Theologian, activist, and pastor Brandan Robertson defines the concept of “true inclusion” as the radical embracing and incorporating of all people, in all of their diversity, into every aspect of our lives, families, communities, and societies. Here, Roberston shares six ways to move your community from mere “welcome” to radical embrace.1. RETHINK.
Be willing to hear how those in the minority experience your communities’ beliefs and practices and how they may perpetuate exclusion and oppression. Be open to changing those practices to be more inclusive. We must be willing to sacrifice disembodied dogmas in order to embrace flesh and blood human beings.2. CLARITY.
Take a public stand on the degree of your inclusivity. If you’re inclusive of women, sexual minorities, and people of color, say it. Marginalized people should never have to guess where you stand on their dignity and equality. If your church is “in process,” say that too. Be ruthlessly honest -- your community deserves it.
3. PLATFORM. Stop seeking to be a “voice for the voiceless” and instead, give the voiceless back their voice. Ensure minorities are centered in your communities’ public ministry and organizational structure, and be willing to listen and learn from their observations and perspectives which you are unable to see in your privileged position.4. EMPATHY. It’s not enough to simply listen to the voices of minorities. We must create spaces where we practice deep listening, allowing the stories and experiences of minorities to be heard, validated, and deeply empathized with. Unless we’re willing to truly hear the stories of the marginalized, we will not be capable of working for their full liberation and inclusion.5. SACRIFICE.Being truly inclusive will require changing your standards of success -- if you’re trying to build the biggest faith community, then becoming inclusive will not help you. But if you’re seeking to build a community of transformation, redemption, and justice, then be inclusive, and embrace the reality that your church will become a revolving door of healing and growth. Understand that the size of a community doesn’t equal platform or influence. 6. INTERSECTIONALITY. You cannot be inclusive of one minority group without being inclusive of others -- this is the reality of intersectionality. All systems of oppression are linked together and therefore, if you move towards the liberation of one group, you must also seek the liberation of the others. Be committed to preaching, acting, and organizing on behalf of all oppressed peoples and refuse to buy into the lie that you can only address one issue at a time.
Ready to take the next step? Order copies of True Inclusion today and help your community take their next step in the conversation.
True Inclusion is written for communities at every stage of the inclusion journey.