The world can be a pretty inhospitable place for those who are considered to be different.
In a world that is trapped in its perceptions of beauty, vitality, intelligence, youth and action, to be seen as lacking in any of these things is often perceived as a blemish on one’s very humanity. But to think in such ways is theologically mistaken. We are called to look at the world quite differently.
Theology is not simply to do with words; it is about the ways in which words, particularly the words of Jesus, find meaning within communities where different people live together, bound together in the spirit of friendship.
At the heart of this is the human desire to belong. Human beings are made for deep relationships; they are made for community. In order to belong somewhere a person has to be missed when they are not there. A theology of community and belonging requires that those whom we have chosen to see as “different” should have a place of belonging within the community of the friends of Jesus. If they are not missed they do not belong; if they do not belong there is no community.