Is there a distinction between who’s invited and who’s welcome?

I was privileged to hear Bob Goff speak last Thursday, then Becky and I spent a couple of hours with him and about twenty people at breakfast the next morning. Over the next few days I’ll share some of the nuggets swirling in my brain.

Bob asked a great question at breakfast: We say everyone’s invited, but is everyone welcome?

I know exactly what he means. I’ve seen the irritated glances when I show up somewhere with a wheelchair. It’s an inconvenience. They have to move chairs, my service dog takes up extra space. I need a little extra help or some accommodation.

Of course I’m invited. But for some folks, it would be more convenient if I didn’t come.

I know how the homeless guy feels. The sign says “Y’ALL COME,” but it’s pretty clear you’re making people uncomfortable. Invited, but not really welcome.

In many places the “unwritten rules” might as well be proclaimed in flashing neon. If you don’t share particular political opinions or doctrinal conclusions, or you’re gay, or you ask the wrong questions, often there’s a pretty obvious don’t-ask-don’t-tell environment.

Maybe your kids are autistic and sometimes act out, or you have a developmental disability. Well, we’ll set up a separate program for you—even if that’s more for our convenience than anything else.

If Jesus is known for one thing, it’s that he hung out with folks who made others uncomfortable. He didn’t see them as projects. They weren’t problems to be solved or defective parts to be fixed. He welcomed them as friends.

Is there a distinction between who’s invited and who’s welcome?

Monday might be a good day to ask why.

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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site

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