Thursday, December 22, 2011

What does it mean?

Someone asked me to write a blog on “what does it mean to be inclusive” to me. Actually they asked a bunch of bloggers. Well actually they posted a request on Twitter/Facebook. I wrote down the request on a Sticky note and hung it on my wall intending to address the request. The idea being I would think, pray and meditate on the question. Then life got in the way.

There was a dinner dance held for the Special needs community at our church. They loved everything about it. In fact if we had just showed up with a plate of brownies and a radio for music, they would have loved it. They love everything and everyone who is willing to spend even a few moments with them.

Then another small community church held its annual Christmas gift give away/food pantry day. They open their doors every other weekend to give away 75 or more boxes of groceries and a matching number of bags of bagels (donated from a local Panera Bread) to people in the surrounding community who would otherwise not have any food that week.  It’s worth losing a couple hours of sleep on a Saturday to enjoy these people and help lift a few boxes. On the Saturday just before Christmas they expand their giving to include a room full of gently used clothing and items plus a table full of donated new toys. Guests are invited to take whatever they need.

Ringing Bells for Salvation Army and the local GoodFellows group to raise money to support families and children are additional activities this time of year.

I wish I could say I found an activity in our busy schedule that claimed specifically to support or include members of the LGBT community. All I can claim is that many of my LGBT friends were also active at these events.  And not once at any of these activities did their choices have an effect on the other people they were there to help. In fact not once during those events did any of my choices effect the people I was there to help either. Why? Because we were there to help others and that is what we did. It did not matter to the people we were helping, what our life styles or personal choices were beyond the activity we were involved in at the moment. All that mattered was that moment.

I am what some would call at “Church Lady”. That is I am involved in a lot of activities that revolve around my place of worship. But like the people involved in these activities, the version of church and flavor of religion have nothing to do with the envisioned outcome. In the end what I do I do for others; if you want to join me you are always welcomed.  Dress comfortably the work can be hard and is often dirty.

So what does inclusive mean to me? It means that we do not have to determine a person’s personal choices in order to accept them and the help they come to offer. We just have to make ourselves available to help others too.