Check out this welcome section in the bulletin from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Community:
We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.
We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.
If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!
(HT: Jon Acuff)
Could you legitimately write the same thing about your church? Or would it be something more like this:
We welcome individuals and especially families who at least present as if they’ve got it all together. You are welcome if you have an upper-middle-income job, a lovely home, and volunteer in some capacity at the church. We welcome homeschoolers and Christian schoolers, as well as Republicans of all shades. If you believe exactly the same things as listed in our doctrinal statement, we extend a special welcome as you clearly have the right beliefs to fit into our community.
Anyone else, we are obligated to say “welcome” but the reality is that we will look at you warily until you believe, and become, more like the rest of us.