But let’s ask a question that matters far more. OK, our church has decided to become welcoming to everybody, regardless of what differences may exist between us. Now what?
So many books on the shelf inspire us to do great things. What many of them lack is utility – strategies to make that inspiration become reality. “That was a great book; now what?” Chalice Press books aim to be useful, and that utility was in our minds from the moment True Inclusion: Creating Communities of Radical Embrace was born. We had been searching for a book to help congregations make the leap from talking the talk to walking the walk when it comes to LGBTQ inclusion.
Enter Brandan Robertson. When Brandan appeared on our radar, he was already recognized as one of “the most hope-inspiring young Christian leaders,” a speaker at the White House and the Parliament of the World’s Religions, a lecturer as academic institutions in the United States and Great Britain, and a social activist for LGBT+ equality. He was wrapping up his studies at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, and we asked him if he might be interested in writing such a book. He dove in and got to work.
In the introduction, Brandan writes, “This is a book for people and communities at every stage of the journey. No matter whether you’re a ‘conservative’ community that is just beginning to have conversations about the ‘issue’ of LGBT+ inclusion, or you’re a church that is fully affirming of LGBT+ people but desires to go deeper than affirmation to full embrace, each section is intended to challenge you.” Inclusion as both the message and the design of the book!
Brandan also writes as a former adherent to the conservative anti-LGBT+ church and its teachings. He was once on the other side of the argument, so he knows the territory and how to navigate past the landmines. These days, he pastors the San Diego campus of MissionGathering, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation, while speaking and sharing the good news that all are welcome at God’s table.
Congregations that pick up True Inclusion with the intent of heeding Brandan’s teachings will be stronger, more welcoming congregations. True Inclusion inspires, but more importantly, it equips congregations to embody Christ’s no-strings-attached invitation to the communion table and to the fellowship of God’s family.
President and Publisher