I love the idea of a diverse community. Idealistically, I picture a utopia made up of individuals from different backgrounds, different ideological and political camps, different socioeconomic classes coming together to better eachother. I imagine a potluck of exotic flavours unintentionally yet somehow excellently paired, to create a delicious dining experience. I love the thought of disagreeing with my neighbour, and somehow managing to live peacefully, and maybe even manage to be friends. I think that heaven will or does offer this utopia, because there are many people in God’s church, and they don’t all see eye to eye. They don’t all look or think or act alike, no matter how hard some of them may try.
I love the idea of a diverse community until I have to be in a community with, say, a Trump-supporter, or a conservative lobbyist, or a suburban soccer mom, or a rich, white CEO. This of course is not an exhaustive list. There are a lot of people with whom I would rather not fellowship. There are ideas that are too diverse, too different, too intolerable. I draw lines in the proverbial sand all the time. I’m okay with you until you make an insensitive comment like “why don’t they have a men’s day” or “all lives matter”. When you cross that line, you might as well just go to hell now. Because in my book you’re not Christian.
There will always be people I don’t want in heaven. Heaven is eternity. Forever. Whoever is there is who you’re spending forever with. Let that sink in. And now be honest because we all know that there are people with whom you don’t want spend eternity. So I guess it’s a damn good thing that we don’t get to make the invite list, because that list would be really short if I was in charge. And despite the fact there may be a plethora of individuals I’d rather exclude from my eternity, I know that I have no choice in the matter. I am trapped by the gospel of Jesus. I am trapped by the narrative of redemption and resurrection that calls you and me, and that guy over there on the other side of that line I drew, children of God. It dictates that I have something to offer you and you have something for me, and that same guy who I really don’t like, has something for us, too. And I’ve learnt that if we exclude or ignore or devalue those people out there, the ones on the other side of the lines that we've drawn, there is a really good chance that we will miss out on something beautiful God has for us.