Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Inclusion?

i spent this past weekend in Ohio, hang'n out with some of our oldest and bestest friends. it is such a blessing to be able to share the journey with those who we were able to see fall in love, get married, and have kids. now we're all have'n a blast chase'n after kids, and we're in awe that we're all together.

but there's an added layer on it. we're all of different faiths. one of my buddies converted from Christianity to Judaism, as this is his wife's faith. he is devout and they are both really involved in their community. the other couple is an inter-faith couple. and i, of course, am in seminary, so that puts Kate and I squarely in the "Christian Camp." so here's the whole spectrum from total Conservative Jewish to in between to Emergent Christian (if i have to label myself something...).

but this weekend has shown that despite our different religious traditions, we're able to COEXIST. we're friends, closer now, despite the difference. but how? how can we still be friends when there's this gap of faith? won't the difference in religious affliation tear us apart? would we be argue'n with our Jewish friends on the doctrine of the Trinity or convince'n the inter-faith couple to decide which tradition to follow, instead of being some sort of heretical mutt spirituality that will just confuse their kids?

no.

because we learn from each other. we have in the past... my buddy taught me how to properly iron, his wife taught me the importance of not wearing blue with black (and i just LOVE sending Kate with her to shop!). The other dude taught me all the best trails in the DC area and his wife is a great resource for books and movies to watch. watching the interfaith couple talk and navigate their traditions is inspiring and i am constantly impressed and learning new perspectives and ways to compromise. the discussions on religion are RICH because of the different perspectives. we all bring something to it. there is room for us all and we don't get too hung up on the differences, mainly the nuanced similarites.

it reminds me of a verse from my own tradition, James 3:13 which states
The wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise of harvest of righteousness.


there's no ownership on wisdom, it comes from everywhere and anyone can have it, from the 3rd grade educated kid to the 80 year old Harvard Dr. wisdom knows no creed, race, socio-economic status... but it's hard to keep open, to try to include it all. even ones that i'd rather not look for or try to accept.

as evidenced by a recent conversation over at Jason's blog , how do i as a Christian honor my own tradition without superceeding my friends? how can i seek to honor the Jewish roots of my faith without overstepping?

i don't know. but i do know that our friendships will last and that our children will know themselves as friends of the family before they know of the differing traditions. to them, there will be no separation, only honoring and inclusion.

so that's what i'm hope'n to do. to honor wisdom in all forms.. to seek understanding of interpretation and see how it's practically played out. Grace will abound, wisdom will be honored, and everyone is gonna learn something (even if it's not what to say or do...).

blessings to all who are on the journey, seeking to know God (or put "existence" if you're uncomfortable with God-talk) and thanks for your words, insights, challenges, and considerations.

8 comments:

Katie said...

I think the best thing to pass on to your children is to be open-minded. You can't be too mean of a person if you know that you don't know everything. Thanks for the post, Luke!

Anglican Gurl said...

Speaking of inclusion, I think I blew it on a comment over at Tit For Tat's blog.

Good post, lots to think about.

Brian said...

Thanks for the blog Luke. More importantly, thanks for your friendship and open mindedness. It is really cool to see you go on this journey and to be a part of it. You can always count on Katie and me for the interfaith view. As you know, Katie and I value open-mindedness above any other philosophy. If your religion, philosophy, family or others teach you something counter to open mindedness and kindness, you should question their reasons and motives.

Kate said...

What a good post! I love our Ohio buddies (and you).

Tit for Tat said...

Anglican Gurl

Thats why its called "Tit for Tat"

:)

societyvs said...

Inclusion - isn't really that hard when you think about it - theology and denominational lines draw those lines in the sand thay may or may not be there - but how important is the 'line' drawn?

I am very inclusive person and even though I differ with a lot of people over a lot of ideas - in the end the only things that matter is we admit to caring for one another - because it's only natural to have these differences in all arena's of life...I have to accept people are who they are and they place different values on what is 'important'.

Now, for me, religion 'sounds' important (thus my blog) - but I really pay little attention to it outside blogging. This isn't to say I am not heavily influenced by my religious convictions (I am). What matters to me is that people 'act' in good ways to one another - and not in ways that seek the destruction of society (whether that's my family, yours, or my neighbors).

I think religion has a way of putting up fences where they may not be needed...and putting people on the 'ins' and the 'outs'. I have to wonder what is so great aout religion that people speak so highly of it - it divides people, creates some irrational thinking, can be contradictory, etc. If we functioned in all aspects of out lives like that we would have rough lives. Religion is compartmentalized in the West - people go to church and leave it there.

Inclusion is going beyond the walls of our religious minds and make room at the table for others who may not share our views - not because we want to convert them - but just because it's the best thing we can do.

I rag on Christianity a lot - and I should - I am a Christian that is sorrowfully displeased with what I see on tv, radio, paper, and in some blogs about what the church is and means. I believe they have it wrong in many ways - and I voice that from time to time. Am I making valid critiques...you be the judge?

Sally said...

I would expect nothing less from you and Kate! You are truly living out your faith in amazing ways and I admire you for that. Of course my friends of other faiths or of no faith know that I would love to help them find the same joy in Christ that I have found but I know it's important to show them Christ than to babble on about him. If they ask, of course I go there but rarely am I the initiator of the conversation. I have lots of friends who think this is not a bold enough approach...perhaps they are right, I don't know. All I know is that it is my joy when asked to make a friend, be a friend, introduce a friend to Christ.

Constance said...

Luke, societyvs said what I was trying to say when we talked about church camp & why Bob & I still go..."I am very inclusive person and even though I differ with a lot of people over a lot of ideas - in the end the only things that matter is we admit to caring for one another - because it's only natural to have these differences in all arena's of life...I have to accept people are who they are and they place different values on what is 'important'."