About Providence, Divine Action and the Church

In this blog, Terry J. Wright posts thoughts and shares research on the Christian doctrine of providence. This doctrine testifies to God’s provision for all things through creation’s high priest, the man Christ Jesus. However, the precise meaning and manner of this provision is a perpetually open question, and this blog is a forum for discussion of the many issues relating to providence and the place of the Church within God’s action.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Problem with ‘Inclusion’

If to include means to bring what is outside or marginal into the centre, then in what sense does this really challenge the legitimacy of that centre? Does it not instead reinforce the power and normative nature of that centre, and in so doing, fail to destabilize or challenge patriarchy, heterosexism, anthropocentrism and colonizing approaches to sustainability, and so on. Indeed, inclusion read this way translates as an acceptance of the other on the grounds that they become like ‘us’. We ‘accept’ disabled persons, for example, but try and ensure they are ‘able’ to live a ‘normal’ (that is, able-bodied) life; we embrace the religious other, but only on the grounds that they share similar views to our own. Such a reading of inclusion does not respect or truly affirm difference; instead, it continues to uphold particular features of identity as normative and ‘includes’ by trying to make that which is different the same. In this sense, the dynamics of inclusion are exposed as the dynamics of assimilation and homogenization.

Hannah Bacon and Wayne Morris with Steve Knowles (eds.), Transforming Exclusion: Engaging Faith Perspectives (London: T&T Clark, 2011), p. ix

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