News from AllianceQ: July-August 2018

New Resource: True Inclusion by Brandan Robertson

From Mark Johnston…

When Brandan asked me to review his book True Inclusion, I was excited to read what he had to say, and I wasn’t disappointed. Here is the book recommendation that I provided for his book:

Here’s what I have to say about True Inclusion by Brandan Robertson – Don’t read this book unless you want to be challenged: challenged to love, love yourself, God, and neighbor; challenged to include, to truly include; challenged to love as Christ loves us; challenged to walk the gospel road of inclusion. True Inclusion is written with a style and a viewpoint that is grounded in evangelical Christianity yet will challenge us all to continue our journey, working to build the Kingdom of God “where there is unity in the midst of great diversity, where we are not forced to abandon the multiplicity of identities that make us unique, but where the gifts that those identities produce are embraced and celebrated.”

And finally, True Inclusion is now available at Chalice Press.

You get a 20% discount for buying at Chalice Press, and through Labor Day Weekend you get free shipping on orders of $35 or more (use promo code FSSUM18 at checkout). Buy a few copies for your friends!

On Being Truly Inclusive: A Q&A with Brandan Robertson

What does truly inclusive mean to you? How is it different from “open and affirming” or “welcoming”?

Too many churches believe that if they announce that they’re inclusive, or change their theology, that all of the sudden they have achieved “inclusion”. But true inclusion calls us to continue to lean in to the reality of intersectional justice and inclusion. If your church is inclusive of the LGBTQIA community but doesn’t actively engage in racial and gender justice, you’re not inclusive. It’s a consistent call to leaning in to Christ’s command to make space at the table for all those who are being oppressed and marginalized in the church and society.

What can churches do right now to be truly inclusive?

It’s both a posture from the leadership and part of the ethos of the environment. Churches need to be getting out of their church buildings and into places that are uncomfortable, where folks on the margins live and do life. We need to be seeking to meet the needs of these communities, to come along side them and uplift their voices and causes, instead of seeking to get them to come to our churches. The goal of the church is not ultimately to build the church numerically on Sunday mornings, but to build the amount of people we are partnering with, uplifting, and working to bring the Kingdom of God- the more just and generous world that God desires. The key is that you can’t just “be more inclusive” today- its a process, a systemic change, a transformation of how you do ministry and think of your posture in the world.

Why did you write this book?

Because I became deeply concerned in my work as a consultant to churches who were seeking to become LGBTQIA inclusive, but then ended their inclusivity there and believed they should be praised for their “progressiveness” and their inclusivity. But true, biblical inclusion is intersectional- it recognizes how all oppression is interconnected and how Christ’s true call is to creating a radically inclusive new reality. This book is a call and critique of “inclusive” churches- especially in the mainline- to wake up from their slumber and embrace the radical inclusion imperative of the gospel.

What do you hope people take away from your book?

A call and conviction to lean into the challenge of always examining the ways they and their community are ignoring and seek to become allies to them, and allowing them to flourish in a community of faith, even if it causes us to transform our posture and aims in ministry.