Insiders and Outsiders

This week I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be inclusive and what it means to be exclusive. I was talking with my friend, Youngsik, earlier this week. He is a pastor and originally from Korea. Young, his wife (Yoojin), and his son (Eunbhin) are some of the most genuine friends I have had in my 25 years of life. While Young and I were chatting, I asked him about the qualities he appreciates most in other people. He said that the quality he values more than anything else is 'inclusiveness.' He appreciates people who are authentically welcoming of everyone.

Our conversation really got me wondering about my own attitudes. Am I truly as inclusive as I like to imagine myself to be? Is the church really as welcoming as our mission statements might lead us to believe? The truth is, I know for a fact that I am not nearly as inclusive as I could and should be. I get nervous. I regularly miss out on opportunities to get to know people on deeper levels. In my weaker moments, my fear of awkwardness keeps me from taking risks and being vulnerable. I pre-judge. I post-judge. I really attempt to be a kind, loving, warm person all the time, but sometimes I'm not.

I believe in a God who requires no more from us than that we keep on trying, but there are many moments each day when I wish I could offer up more than that. I imagine God's loving hands breaking into the world to stretch all of our human arms wider and wider apart, so that our ability to embrace would be ever expanding. There is no limit to God's love for everyone and everything; and I believe God dreams of all the people of the world embodying that same capacity for inclusiveness. And so, I suppose, we just keep going along each day attempting to live increasingly into that vision of a love surpassing our wildest imaginations.

Today in the apartment, I was noticing things like locks and curtains and doors in a way I hadn't before. Perhaps as objects of exclusion. Obviously, I think all these items are certainly requirements for city safety. But for whatever reason, they all left me slightly mystified today.


  1. fantastic pics. esp like the one of the peep hole.

  2. Inspirational words and interesting pictures today. Thanks for offering this daily respite.

  3. what beautiful pictures. wowza. you've got an eye for beauty, ms. em.