In each new generation there is a hue and cry to begin to admit those who "are not" into the church. I think back to the formation of the church, and Paul, with the inclusion of Gentiles. We have faced this question in each generation. Lately, we have asked the question of Slaves, Women, Asians, Blacks (yes there was a difference between Slaves and Blacks in this scenario), and now whither the Homosexual.
All of these arguments seem to be about who can and cannot be followers of Christ, and whether the Scriptures are for or against particular persons. I believe that all can be followers of Christ. And, let's be honest the Scriptures are against us all, as to whether or not we have sinned, or have the ability to be completely faithful all the time.
None of us can measure up. In that way I really do wonder at what we think these arguments about who can be in are really about. I tend to find that it has to do with our own levels of comfort. Whether those are issues we are uncomfortable within ourselves, or as matters that we don't want to fight the wave of current reality around us, I can never be entirely certain.
But, I will say this, that as far as drawing a circle or line as to who can come to church I am never going to draw that line. I understand God to be a God who invites us all to the table. Where we might want to fault one person for a particular kind of sin, we have our own sins to confront. I am a firm believer, that given access to the Scriptures, to faithful community that cares about each of us individually, and invites to participate in the life of Christ, that the Holy Spirit will do what it does best, which is transform us into the very image of God.
The amazing thing for me is that the transformation that occurs is very rarely in the shape or form I want it to become, but more a matter of watching what John Wesley referred to as, "being perfected in love".
So, here's to loving more, welcoming more people to the church, and letting God do God's work, without my interference.