I was reading an e-mail this week from someone who's worked in the field of social work with disabled folks for many years. She was talking about including people with disabilities at church and how that sometimes meant taking a radical approach, such as challenging the assumption that is difficult to include those with disabilities for certain reasons.
I've heard these reasons over the years. Things such as having disabled people around can make some folks uncomfortable or not knowing where to physically "put people" or not knowing how to act "around them". The radical approach is to name it and deal with it.
Love is radical.
Today on Valentine's Day we are surrounded by pink hearts, flowers, candy, cards and all the trappings of a holiday. I have my own pile here of cards from loved ones. Nothing wrong with that.
I believe however that we're called to love each other in a more radical way. It means loving those who may not love us back, who may challenge our comfortable ways, who may stretch our perceptions, our resources and our hearts. Practicing this kind of love always makes us grow in unexpected ways spiritually. This kind of love spreads. It's contagious. It doesn't stop to think about excluding anyone and it also doesn't begrudge anyone having a wonderful, romantic relationship. There is always more than enough love to go around in this type of community, because everyone is included, cared for and cared about.
So I know what this social worker was talking about. I agree with her 100 percent. Creating inclusive faith communities requires radical love. I've seen it happen. May it continue to grow.