May 28, 2009

“Inclusiveness” an excuse for condoning sin?

Posted in Musings tagged , , at 11:29 am by myrlinn

During Bible Study this week, the focus was on the incident of the Golden Calf (Exodus 32). And one of the issues we discussed was how Aaron was quick to shift the blame with excuses along the lines “it’s the people who wanted it”, “you were gone so long, Moses”.

What gave me real food for thought was one of the responses when we were talking about the kinds of excuses people make today to justify wrongs or sins. Someone suggested, “inclusiveness” citing the recent Aware controversies. [ Background: The organisation was accused of promoting homosexuality in certain activities/programmes. One example cited by critics: the labelling of homosexuals as “neutral” in a sex education programme for schools developed by Aware. One of the arguments used by those supportive of Aware activities was the need for “inclusiveness”. ]

However, in the context of a discussion on whether inclusiveness is a modern-day excuse for condoning sin, I think it’s important that “inclusiveness” not be confused with “going along with the crowd” (which was what Aaron did in Exodus). Inclusiveness is about treating others, particularly those at the margins of society, particularly those who are not like you, with respect and love, without judgment.  If you look at Jesus’ life, he demonstrates inclusiveness – he conversed and dined with outcasts, with sinners, with those considered unclean. He had love for those who faced rejection and contempt by society. Surely, then, the Christian view should not be a rejection of “inclusiveness”, but rather an embracing of inclusiveness as a way to guard against being unloving towards your neighbour in the service of “righteousness” (and thus being like the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ time).

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