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Hallo again to all.

This week we find ourselves pondering what we think of as the paradox of inclusivity. We haven't quite worked out a gnomic rendition of that paradox, but its essence is simple: the more different kinds of people you include in your circle, the more likely you are to be condemned as un-Christian. But the fundamental and radical message of the Gospel is that God loves absolutely everyone, no matter how despicable.

Despicable. We can close our eyes and hear Daffy Duck saying that word -- it was funny because it was a cartoon duck finding people despicable. In real life, no one is intrinsically despicable; people find one another despicable. Nearly everyone found Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin despicable. Ditto for Pol Pot, and a few more in the last century.

The shocking message of scripture, of which we were today reminded by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is that God even loves the despicable. Whether or not they loved God back. At the risk of sounding as if we are preaching, the factionalization of the church, based on human notions of who is to be excluded, who is not like us, whom God intended to exclude, is entirely a human notion.


Dividing, excluding, partitioning, and isolating, even in the name of Christ, do not seem to us to be Christian activities. We have long appreciated this sermon by Catherine M Wallace, 'The experience of God and the inclusivity of the church'. This week's Anglican News is chock-a-block with news stories of situations ripe to create separation, distance, division, and discord. Those who wish to separate use the language that they are separating from -- excluding -- other people in order to draw closer to God. We cannot believe that is the plan of the God whom we daily struggle to better understand.

See you next week. All of you. All, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Cynthia McFarland's signature
Brian Reid's signature
Cynthia McFarland
Brian Reid

Last updated: 10 October 2004

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