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True Inclusion: Creating Communities of Radical Embrace

SKU 9780827237186

by Brandan Robertson

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INDIES Book of the Year Award Finalist, Foreword Reviews

Want to be truly inclusive? It's more than flying a rainbow flag on your church doors.

In True Inclusion, public theologian and pastor Brandan Robertson shares how to move your church from mere welcome to radical embrace. Pointing to a clear biblical imperative for radical inclusivity in the sanctuary and in the public square, Robertson presents a paradigm-shifting vision of community, "where nothing is simple, nothing is easy, but everything is beautiful."

True Inclusion offers a practical approach to becoming deeply, robustly, and richly inclusive of all people regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and socioeconomic status. Written for people and communities at every stage of the journey, True Inclusion will challenge and inspire you to embody a gospel of radical embrace for all.

Read True Inclusion with your book club, Sunday school class, or as an all-church read with these resources:


“After being confronted by the administration of his Bible college about his ‘same-sex desires,’ Robertson looked elsewhere for an inclusive Christian church that pursued the ‘good of the silenced, marginalized, and oppressed.’ Now serving as an openly gay pastor, he shares how he has confronted homophobia throughout his life in order to break down a key misunderstanding: the notion that inclusivity is about tolerating other people. For Robertson, inclusivity isn’t about toleration, but about getting to know and love those who aren’t like you. Robertson provides carefully selected passages from Scripture to support his claims, and also dedicates a chapter to a searing critique of patriarchy. This challenging treatise, intended to ruffle feathers, is a much-needed salve in the current climate of polarization.Publishers Weekly

"‘Inclusion,’ Robertson asserts, ‘is a fundamental human need, hardwired into our being from the time we are born.’ Yet, he notes, writing from his perspective as a gay clergyman, ‘No community has experienced such fierce exclusion from Christian communities than has the LGBT+ community.’ Why this should be so and why all those regarded as being ‘other’ are similarly excluded is due, simply, to fear, he hypothesizes, adding that it is love that expels any fear. This is a challenging but compassionate view of a troubling reality that should inspire every community of believers."―Booklist

“Despite greater conversations and movement toward equality in the church, we still have an incredible amount of work before us to create communities that truly embody full inclusion for all. Brandan Robertson’s prophetic and wise voice is a much-needed gift to the Body of Christ during these changing times! He anchors us in a deep Jesus-centered theology and challenges us to courageous leadership and practice that will transform not only our own lives and churches but also the wider world. True Inclusion stirs, challenges, and inspires.”―Kathy Escobar, copastor of The Refuge and author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart

“I so desire to belong to a beloved community where I and all are welcome, and we are called to fully explore our pathways to spiritual health, healing, and wholeness. True Inclusion does more than desire such a community, it provides us all with resources necessary to build such a community. This book will be a vital tool for those who feel called to recreate the Body of Christ in the image and likeness of a God who, as Peter preached in Acts 10, shows no partiality.”―The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President, The United Church of Christ

"Creating a culture of genuine inclusion takes skill and intentionality. Brandon knows this first hand as a young gay man raised in an evangelical tradition. In True Inclusion, Brandon shares his story and in doing so gives congregations a roadmap for talking about our hopes and fears, our theological questions and our lived experiences as we wrestle with widening the welcome of the Body of Christ. If your church is committed to a wide welcome and radical inclusion of all of God's children, this is a great resource for you."―Rev. Cameron Trimble, CEO, Center for Progressive Renewal & Convergence Network

"Brandan Robertson presses us to move beyond the performative―to truly follow a Christ who gave up Godly power in order to stand in solidarity with the oppressed. Brandan lays out clearly why the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people is imperative for the church today, and offers real-world examples and suggestions for every Christian community.I'll be recommending this book to pastors who want to avoid allyship pitfalls, and to any Christian who pursues justice and equality for people of all genders and sexual orientations."―Austen Hartke, author of Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians

"Brandan is a crucial and courageous theologian working at the intersection between faith and LGBTQ equality. In True Inclusion, he delivers a strong, but much needed, challenge to all churches. Brandan calls out lukewarm attempts and fearful silence, asking instead for bold commitment.True Inclusion is an excellent handbook to help churches on their journey toward mirroring God's radically inclusive love."―Vicky Beeching, Speaker, LGBTQ Equality Campaigner & Author of Undivided: Coming Out, Becoming Whole and Living Free From Shame

"Don't read this book unless you want to be challenged: challenged to love, love yourself, God, and neighbor; challenged to include, to truly include; challenged to love as Christ loves us; challenged to walk the gospel road of inclusion.True Inclusion is written with a style and a viewpoint that is grounded in evangelical Christianity yet will challenge us all to continue our journey, working to build the Kingdom of God 'where there is unity in the midst of great diversity, where we are not forced to abandon the multiplicity of identities that make us unique, but where the gifts that those identities produce are embraced and celebrated.'" ― Mark Johnston, Executive Director, The Disciples LGBTQ Alliance

“Brandan has done such a fantastic job helping us to think better about taking off the blinders that we use to exclude people that aren’t like us, and to look deeper into understanding those whose experience we may not fully understand. In True Inclusion he challenges us to better understand the privileges we so often can take for granted, and to step outside of our comfort zones to not only embrace the ones on the margins but to live out there.” ―Trey Pearson, singer, songwriter