Exclusivity doesn’t reign
Dear Editor:I am writing in response to a letter from John Dumke to the Times printed on April 4. To respond or not is a question I pondered at length. During the Easter service I decided to address the thoughts expressed in John’s letter.The message of Jesus expressed in his teachings is what makes me Christian. It is not the churches nor their leaders nor their leadership structures. I do not need, nor do I believe anyone needs, a church between me and my God. Jesus rebelled against the church of his time, and they crucified him for questioning their leadership. His lesson was always that all people are welcomed to receive the love of God. Women, children, sinners and tax collectors were all welcome to accept the love of God. This inclusiveness is what attracts me to Christianity.This is my belief; when man attempts to define God’s love he ALWAYS diminishes it. Mr. Dumke thinks he is a “true believer.” Any attempt to cast out God’s children from his welcomed table is diminishing and against the teachings of Jesus. Those that point to the Bible to justify their exclusive definition of who the in group is totally miss the true teachings of Jesus. Pro-slavery voices pointed to the Bible to justify that institution. They were wrong. Slavery is not right, and it needed to be abolished. Bible literalists point to scripture that supports keeping women subjugated. They are wrong. The Bible tells us that if our children are rebellious the correct response is to take them to the gates of the city and stone them to death. It is wrong. The Bible tells us that if one is caught in an adulterous activity we should stone them to death. It is wrong.Jesus picked up a stone and said let he who is without sin cast the first stone. He was right. The same thought process that wants to keep Negroes enslaved, women marginalized and sinners stoned will continue their exclusive behavior and keep homosexuals marginalized and not welcome at God’s table. They are wrong.In the civil rights movement, it was the church that led the way toward social justice. Where there is social injustice, we must face it and make it right. If the church is wrong we must make it right. Jesus knew this. He overturned the tables of the money changers. He spoke out against social injustice. Our churches and our laws must not exclude any of God’s children.To Mr. Dumke I say this: I pray for you to soften your heart and see the teachings of Jesus as an open invitation to all – women, children, tax collectors, adulterous people, Romans and homosexuals. To everyone, I hope you will not be silent when others attempt to justify the exclusion of any from full protection of the law and, most of all, full membership in God’s house. I invite all to come to our church.Ward HauensteinAspenMember of Aspen Community Church for more than 20 years
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