Brandan Robertson is a popular blogger, author, speaker, and pastor. He recently joined the RavenCast to discuss his new book True Inclusion: Creating Communities of Radical Embrace. You can watch the video below or listen to the MP3 above. You can also subscribe to the RavenCast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Podbean. Enjoy an excerpt from the conversation below.
Adam: You write in the first or second chapter that before we talk about inclusion we have to talk about exclusion. What are you getting at with exclusion?
Brandan: As I’ve worked in conservative evangelical spaces, particularly around LGBT inclusion, the one thing that I realized time and time again is that most Christian leaders have no idea that their theology, the words that they speak throughout the week in their congregation, actually have a tangible, physical, impact on the people that are hearing it. And until we begin to under that the desire to exclude is rooted in fear, which is fundamentally opposed to God because God is love as First John says, and love casts out all fear. But that fear also has consequences.
At the beginning of the book, I really try hard to say that a fear-based theology is not a theology we can attribute to God. So there’s a real problem there. And a fear-based theology always produces psychological, mental, and spiritual harm. So right at the beginning of the book, I think most people who are progressive are going to be more LGBT inclusive. Great! But I want to challenge us to look at the ways in our congregations that we blindly exclude or speak in a way that is hurting other people and own up to the ways we might be culpable.
On the LGBT side of things, we know that children in conservative Christian homes are five times more likely to attempt suicide. Those statistics are undeniable, and they show the results of exclusion. This isn’t a mere theological debate. These are real lives and real people. And so that’s why I started the book there, because this book really is a critique of a fundamental patriarchy the Christianity is infused with, and it’s a call to repentance, a call to action. To owning and changing the way we hold ourselves as Christians because we are causing harm and we need to own up to it and do something about it.