Rohr on outsiders…

Richard Rohr

My friend Maggy sent me a quote today by the man speaking above- Richard Rohr.

It hit the spot for several reasons. Firstly, Rohr usually has something interesting to say, and his take on the role of the outsider as a source of renewal to the church feels like something important.

Important too as another friend had recieved one of those chain e-mails, and sent it on to me to ask what I thought. This is what it said;

Last month I attended my annual training session for maintaining my security clearance in the prison service.

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> There was a presentation by three speakers from the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths, who explained their beliefs.

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> I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say about the basics of Islam, complete with video.

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> After the presentations, question time. I directed my question to the Imam and asked: ‘Correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a Holy War against the infidels of the world and, that by killing an infidel, (which is a command to all Muslims) they are assured of a place in heaven. If that’s the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?’

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> There was no disagreement with my statement and, without hesitation he replied, ‘Non-believers!’

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> I responded, ‘So let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not a follower of Allah, so they can have a place in heaven. Is that correct?’

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> The expression on his face changed from one of authority to that of a little boy who had just been caught with his hand in the biscuit tin.’

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> He sheepishly replied, ‘Yes.’

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> I then stated, ‘Well, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope Benedict commanding all Catholics to kill Muslims, or the Archbishop of Canterbury ordering all Protestants to do the same in order to guarantee them a place in heaven!’

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> The Imam was speechless!

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> I continued, ‘I also have a problem with being your ‘friend’ when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me! Let me ask you a question. Would you rather have your Allah, who tells you to kill me in order for you to go to heaven, or my Jesus who tells me to love you because He will take me to heaven and He wants you to be there with me?’

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> You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam remained speechless.

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> Needless to say, the organizers of the Diversification seminar were not happy with this way of exposing the truth about the Muslims’ beliefs.

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> Within twenty years, i.e. 2031, there will be enough Muslim voters in the UK to elect a government of their choice, complete with Sharia law.

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> Everyone in the WORLD should be required to read this, but with the current political paralysis, tolerant justice system, liberal media and P.C. madness, there is no way this will be widely publicised.

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> Please pass this on to all your e-mail contacts.

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I replied to my friend,  but rather than share with you my own ramblings, here is what Richard Rohr had to say;

The Sin of Exclusion  

Those at the edge of any system and those excluded from any system ironically and invariably hold the secret for the conversion and wholeness of that very group. They always hold the feared, rejected, and denied parts of the group’s soul. You see, therefore, why the church was meant to be that group that constantly went to the edges, to the “least of the brothers and sisters,” and even to the enemy.

Jesus was not just a theological genius, but he was also a psychological and sociological genius. When any church defines itself by exclusion of anybody, it is always wrong. It is avoiding its only vocation, which is to be the Christ. The only groups that Jesus seriously critiques are those who include themselves and exclude others from the always-given grace of God.

Only as the People of God receive the stranger, the sinner, and the immigrant, those who don’t play our game our way, do we discover not only the hidden, feared, and hated parts of our own souls, but the fullness of Jesus himself. We need them for our own conversion.The Church is always converted when the outcasts are re-invited back into the temple. You see this in Jesus’ commonly sending marginalized people that he has healed back into the village, back to their family, or back to the temple to “show themselves to the priests.” It is not just for their re-inclusion and acceptance, but actually for the group itself to be renewed.

Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations,

One thought on “Rohr on outsiders…

  1. Pingback: The Sin of Exclusion – Richard Rohr | Katie and Martin's Blog on the Lutheran Church in Australia

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