Radical Welcome

by jpserrano on January 15, 2013 · 2 comments

I found the following statement via Rob Davis, who’s blog directed me to the source-When Radical Welcome Gets Messy. I highly recommend this article to get you thinking about how your church is welcoming.  

Thank you for coming to First Christian Church.
We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, straight, filthy rich, dirt poor, no hablan Inglés.
We extend a special welcome to those who are crying newborns, broken hearted, or in need of a safe place.

We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like many of us who can’t carry a note in a bucket.
You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail.
We don’t care if you believe in God or if you’ve never been to church.

We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast.
We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters.
We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted.
We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.

If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here.
We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.

We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both.
We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake.
We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!

We are First Christian Church – a social justice congregation – and we love you.

There’s a couple things that I would change with this statement, but as a whole I really like it.

I like that it is radical in the way it tries to include all people. Even if you can’t find yourself in this list, you know that it applies to you. I think I would be welcome at this church.

But isn’t it disappointing that churches have to put welcome statements like this in their bulletin.

Today American Christianity is known by its exclusivity rather than its inclusivity. It’s known by what we are against, rather than what we are for.

This kind of radical inclusivity should be the norm for all churches.

In this kind of welcome we acknowledge that we are both Christian and at the same time becoming Christian (for more on this read How (Not) to Speak of God).  We are lost, found, and being found. With this welcome statement one can sense that faith is not a decisive point in time, but a journey that has to be walked an entire lifetime.

I think churches shouldn’t need statements like this because it should be common knowledge that Christianity = Radical Inclusivity.

-jpserrano

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How would you edit this statement?  What do you like about it? Dislike?

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica Serrano January 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Thank you for finally stating we welcome crying newborns. The tiny dark room at the back of the sanctuary does not make me feel welcome, but the fact that someone is acknowledging babies cry and it’s okay makes all the difference.

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jpserrano January 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm

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