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Good words about Inclusion from Richard Rohr

I attended an event today that celebrated the work of Community Living Essex County, an organization “committed to support people with an intellectual disability to achieve their goals and dreams and to realize their value as inclusionfull citizens in their community.”  

This was a great counter-point to Rohr’s words from “The Universal Christ”. Here are some of the phrases that jumped off the page:

God’s infinite love has always included all that God created from the very beginning

Faith at its essential core is accepting that you are accepted! We cannot deeply know ourselves without also knowing the One who made us, and we cannot fully accept ourselves without accepting God’s radical acceptance of every part of us.

We need to look at Jesus until we can look out at the world with his kind of eyes. The world no longer trusts Christians who “love Jesus” but do not seem to love anything else.

…we spent a great deal of time worshiping the messenger and trying to get other people to do the same. Too often this obsession became a pious substitute for actually following what he taught—and he did ask us several times to follow him, and never once to worship him.

A mature Christian sees Christ in everything and everyone else. That is a definition that will never fail you, always demand more of you, and give you no reasons to fight, exclude, or reject anyone.

The point of the Christian life is not to distinguish oneself from the ungodly, but to stand in radical solidarity with everyone and everything else.

Jesus had no trouble whatsoever with otherness. We must be honest and humble about this: Many people of other faiths, like Sufi masters, Jewish prophets, many philosophers, and Hindu mystics, have lived in light of the Divine encounter better than many Christians.

Remember what God said to Moses: “I AM Who I AM” (Exodus 3:14). God is clearly not tied to a name, nor does he seem to want us to tie the Divinity to any one name… This tradition alone should tell us to practice profound humility in regard to God, who gives us not a name, but only pure presence—no handle that could allow us to think we “know” who God is or have him or her as our private possession.

(Jesus) came in mid-tone skin, from the underclass, a male body with a female soul, from an often hated religion, and living on the very cusp between East and West. No one owns him, and no one ever will.

…there has never been a single soul who was not possessed by the Christ, even in the ages when Jesus was not. Why would you want your religion, or your God, to be any smaller than that?

You are not your gender, your nationality, your ethnicity, your skin color, or your social class. Why, oh why, do Christians allow these temporary costumes, or what Thomas Merton called the “false self,” to pass for the substantial self, which is always “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3)? It seems that we really do not know our own Gospel.

You are a child of God, and always will be, even when you don’t believe it.

When Christ calls himself the “Light of the World” (John 8:12), he is not telling us to look just at him, but to look out at life with his all-merciful eyes. We see him so we can see like him, and with the same infinite compassion. When your isolated “I” turns into a connected “we,” you have moved from Jesus to Christ.

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