A man and a woman are walking their dogs. The woman says, "I'm just looking for a church where I can be real!" The man replies, "Oh you can be real at our church as long as you're a real believer like the rest of us!"
I don't know how many times I've been to churches or heard of churches that claim to invite you to be real. But I come to find out that nearly every one of them means you can be real by their standards of what real means.
Yes, some churches say you can be real. But then they put you on a secret time table that if you don't measure up in due time then you're a problem.
I love diversity! I think true community is created by giving space for people to be themselves. To be authentic. To be real.
I've tried it as a pastor many times. And I've tried it online too. And it works!
I believe people genuinely long for true community and instinctively know it's enriched by the beautiful variety and wonderful diversity of its members being encouraged and expressed.
Sure, there are people who say that I don't give room for them with their hate or homophobia or misogyny or others kinds of attitudes that basically express themselves this way: You can be you but only if you're such-and-such and not so-and-so.
In other words, I believe most people love diversity and long to live and work within that culture. But when we do that there's no place for people who demand homogeneity and sameness.
In other words, unity is manifested by people who love unity, so divisive people can't participate.
Let me be clear: they are not being excluded! They are excluding themselves by being exclusive.
Inclusion rejects exclusion!
I encourage you to be real because I believe it contributes to the enrichment of our community.