I said something earlier today to a group of people about how faith was something that helped people who were excluded, people who felt left out or who just felt not good enough, and about how inclusion in a church community was what Jesus intended. And I was surprised at how many people responded to what I'd said, saying things like "thank you. I've been feeling so bad" and "I've been waiting for years for someone to say that".
I was gob-smacked. Is it rocket science? Had no-one else really said anything like this to them?
There is, it seems, a problem with churches.
There seems to be a tendency to either expect the members to behave a particular way, or at least to expect that the other members expect us to behave a certain way. But where does that leave us if we're confused, or our life is a mess, or we're in pain? We can't behave that proper way, so we either stay away, or we pretend.
I think something needs to change.
Religion isn't just for people who have everything sewn up, who have life sorted out and who know how to behave correctly. If God exists, he surely exists for all of us, regardless of the life choices we have made and possibly now regret, or the baggage that we carry around.
Churches need to be about including people. Otherwise there's no point in them.