By Brandan Robertson
Published by Chalice Press
ISBN 978 0 827237186
Brandan Robertson made his name with his 2017 book Our Witness: The unheard stories of LGBT+ Christians. Here he is writing about inclusion and what it means for churches. He has produced a powerful and thoughtful book that deserves to be widely read.
This is a book that is both practical and underpinned with theology. In the areas of practical theology, I found chapter 2’s working through of inclusive looking ideas that don’t go far enough for true inclusion to be really challenging. I certainly recognised many of these, such as ‘saying All Are Welcome’ or ‘putting a rainbow symbol on your website’ and know that they are not enough, but Robertson is able to unpack these ideas and explain why they are not enough to show full inclusion. He is also able to suggest ideas that do allow churches to take the next steps if they truly want to be inclusive.
There are 4 chapters that explore the theology of inclusion and some of the barriers to it. I was particularly impressed with chapter 5, The Problem of Patriarchy. Women are often able to articulate why patriarchy is a problem for them, but this is the best analysis I have seen about patriarchy being a problem for the LGBTQ+ community, explaining it in terms of power and privilege which excludes those who are seen as ‘other’.
The book is written in the context of LGBTQ+ inclusion, but it has something to say about racism and sexism too. I would like to see a major UK publisher pick up this book and expand the practical theology chapters and examples into other areas of exclusion. This could be a breakout book, because much of the theology Robertson discusses is relevant to many forms of exclusion. This is an essential read.
This book is available to buy at amazon.co.uk