Tuesday, August 14

It's a Family Affair: Synchroblog

Is Christianity exclusive or inclusive? In my view, it is both. But perhaps that is not such a terrible thing.

"Christian" really means, a "little Christ." We find the term first used in Acts as a name badge for those who followed the controversial person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. These "little Christs" were convinced that Jesus was not dead, but alive, and that Jesus is Lord of all. Many went to their death proclaiming his resurrection and Kingship.

Today the term "Christian" has been sadly liquified to mean anyone who identifies with a supposed facet of "Christian religion." And yet, according to the New Testament record, Jesus Christ arguably never intended to create what we would call a world religion. He simply called people to (give up everything and) follow Him. Following the Son of God is to receive a new birth certificate and receive a honored place in God's Family.

If we consider our families, we might have a more accurate portrait of the exclusive and inclusive qualities of those who'd identify as "little Christs."

In my family, I am marked by my father's name, D'Alessandro. This is who I am, not because of what I've done, but simply because of my birthright. I'm entitled to all of the rights of this great Sicilian name, which includes the inheritance of being a descendent of the late Duke of Messina.

My neighbors names are Mike and Laura. They are not D'Alessandro's by birth, nor by marriage. Of course, they are excluded from my family name, but they are included in our family meals when we enjoy Maryland crabs outside in the evening sunset.

In some small way, so it is with "little Christs." We have been welcomed into Christ's Family Name through Christ's work on the cross, and when we agreed to follow Him and carry a cross of our own. In this family affair, we are naturally exclusive.

We are inclusive in that we may freely welcome others into our mealtimes who don't yet bear his Name. And no matter what their name, we ought dignify them, because it is the way of Jesus to give dignity to all. Sharing a meal means sharing the healing power of the King. Conversations can be prayer when we welcome Christ there.

The gorgeous mystery in this Family is that (regardless of the dysfunction therein), Jesus Christ is awfully generous: freely giving all of the exclusive birthrights to anyone who will follow Him. The good news is that his inclusive tendencies seem so unfair. Those who seem to deserve his Name the least are those most sought after by Him.

He exchanges our shameful history with a crown of honor. And we'd dare not do the same for others who are yet unconcerned with the Name?

Check out what others on the Synchroblog team are saying about the matter. And if you'd like to join in on our next month's topic, just leave me a comment and you'll receive the Synchroblog birthright [cheeky grin].

  • Steve Hayes at Notes from underground is blogging his thoughts "Christianity inclusive or exclusive?"
  • John Smulo adds his thoughts.
  • Erin Word shares some thoughts on The Politics of love.
  • Sam Norton the Elizaphanian writes about Inclusively fanatical.
  • Julie Clawson of One hand clapping writes about The narrow door
  • David Fisher asks "Why are we exclusive?"
  • Mike Bursell muses on Inclusive or exclusive: you mean there's a choice?
  • Sally of Eternal echoes shares her thoughts about Christianity- exclusive or inclusive
  • Cobus van Wyngaard is contemplating Inclusivity within claims of heresy
  • Tim Abbott joins the conversation with Christianity - inclusive or exclusive?
  • Sonja posts on Pack behaviour.
  • And, as an extra, Nic Paton of Sounds and silence adds something on Incarnation, inclusion and hell


    Steve Hayes said...

    I like the analogy of a family meal.

    elizabeth said...

    "Conversations can be prayer when we welcome Christ there."


    Erin said...

    Great post! I think sometimes we forget that it really is simply about following Jesus, not about subscribing to a set of beliefs.

    I love what you said about the mystery of this dysfunctional family.

    And ditto Elizabeth's comment.

    sonja said...

    Wow, Jenelle ... this is really gorgeous. I love your well spun analogy.

    Sally said...

    Great post Jenelle :-)

    Sally said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
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