The Lie of Inclusion

five person holding hands together

“We’re working towards diversity and inclusion.”

Anyone else hear this well-meaning, white lie in the Church before?

As a queer person of color in a whitewashed Evangelical world, I am exhausted from waiting to be included. Time after time after time, I have heard straight white pastors, professors, mentors, and even friends tell me that they are working towards inclusion for people like me and yet time after time have greatly let me down.

They will read books I recommend, attend the conferences, and dialogue with all of the subversive people, and yet still walk away questioning my choice of donning a rainbow. They will read the blog posts, and publicly question their privilege and yet still ask me to teach them about racism.

I have had folks publicly say that they support my life and pursuit of theological education as a gay Christian of color and yet still not bother to include me to spend any personal time with them or even accept my invitations to community; folks who applaud me for my contributions to important conversations and yet do not care to have relational conversations to build up a friendship between us.

Anyone else relate to this kind of exhaustion?

It may surprise you, but through it all, I am still optimistic. LGBTQ+ people always have and always will carve out their own spaces of love and inclusion. People of color always have and always will carve out their own spaces of love and inclusion. We never had the option of relying on majority culture to create that space at the table for us, so we have built our own tables, provided our own food, bought our own silverware, and have educated each other for the betterment of the world around us.

We are not waiting for majority culture to finally approve of our lives because we are looking each other in the eyes and saying, “You are worth it. God sees you.”

I am not waiting for straight white men in the church to give me the nod and say that my life and my decisions are valid. How can I seek approval from folks who are uncomfortable with my assertion that Black lives still matter? How can I seek approval from folks who still subtly refer to my sexual orientation as a choice I have made?

The only choice I will make is to take a seat at the table that had my name on a place mat before I arrived. If they’re not expecting you and actively planning on your arrival, how can they possibly set up enough chairs?

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