November 9–Faith: Radical Welcome into Reciprocity

Our congregation has affirmed that we are a radically welcoming community. We did not come to those words or what they represent lightly or overnight.  No knee-jerk reactions here. I see the whole dynamic around coming to see ourselves as and practicing being a welcoming community as the work of faith.

  1. This kind of radical welcoming is founded on what I can only call unconditional love–as close as we can get to it.  We ritualize this radical welcome, this unconditioned welcome each week: no matter your immigration status, your skin color, how you wear your hair, your gender identity or whom you love, your political affiliation,  your financial status, your health, whether you are tattooed or pierced, regardless of your theological positions–we welcome you into our community.
  2. We state these very things because they are most often the issues around which people are rejected or judged or otherwise harmed by religious communities. Our faith calls for an expansion of love and acceptance, and affirming ourselves as radically welcoming is our attempt to rise to that call.
  3. We welcome and invite all those who come with open minds, open hands and open hearts.

That last part is important.  Faith is reciprocal.  We are not just radically welcoming everyone, but everyone we welcome must be prepared to join us in this kind of welcoming of others.  As we welcome people who come to our community, they are agreeing to learn this practice of radical welcome, to practice this kind of faith with us.  It’s a pretty rare faith.  It’s demanding.  And it is transformative.

Bob Patrick

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