I (Ryan) often use the common phrase, “All Are Welcome!”
The idealist self desires for this mantra to be true in all contexts because I truly do care about people. However, it’s just not true.
All are NOT welcome.
While Brew Theology exists to brew theology and create healthy, meaningful and eclectic dialogue in pub communities, if we are truly honest with what is best for people and building healthy community, we cannot unequivocally declare that all are welcome when we enthusiastically brew theology at the brewpubs.
Well, the same reason why NOT all people are welcome in one’s home. You wouldn’t invite someone into your home that you knew would toxically abuse you and your family. That’s just practical wisdom. And if you did invite someone in your home, giving then the benefit of the doubt, you wouldn't tolerate any and all actions. That would be foolish.
Yes! You may desire to be open-minded and have friends and acquaintances with a variety of beliefs and opinions; we applaud those efforts as we boast in doing the same each week in Denver when our community gathers for rich and profound interfaith/ interreligious conversation. Everything is on the table for discussion, and we find ourselves in vast disagreement with wild differences. Still, we extend courtesy by listening well, are respectful of one another, and we actually do this pluralistic thing pretty damn well. I’m proud of our people! It’s not easy, but it’s critical to sit across from people who think differently from one another.
And in that humane value, we hold true to being respectful of all human beings – female, male, gay, straight, transgender, brown, black white, skinny, fat, drinkers, abstainers, liberals, conservatives, independents, all religious observers, atheists, agnostics, the disabled, and any other category of person.
Therefore, if someone walks into out gatherings spaces and verbally abuses someone, they are not welcome. If someone feels threatened, they are not welcome at the table. If someone’s humanity is being degraded, we’ll call the bully an Uber and show him or her the pub door.
Diversity is real.
Pluralism is a legit value.
And freedom of speech is a real thing.
Yet, tolerance for oppressive behaviors and hateful speech is simply not productive and horribly unhealthy. As we build generously brave communities, we aren’t looking for uniformity; we are seeking unity with the posture of grace and a willingness to see one another with worth, beauty and goodness!