A Walk Along the Way of Inclusion and Affirmation

A Walk Along the Way of Inclusion and Affirmation August 19, 2023

Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy

“As I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake, I pray to the Lord my soul to take.”

I dreamt I died…

My vision slowly cleared to reveal – a road.

Over the road, a sign read:

I AM THE WAY TO PERDITION.

I AM THE WAY OF SELF LOVE ABOVE ALL OTHERS.

ALL ARE INCLUDED UPON THIS ROAD.

ALL ARE AFFIRMED FOR WHO THEY ARE.

ON THIS ROAD, ALL FIND THEIR TRUE SELVES.

ABANDON ALL JUDGEMENT, YE WHO WALK HERE.

Fearful, I stopped and looked around. Millions upon millions walked beside me.  Many walked with smiles upon their faces. Some walked hand-in-hand.

“Greetings, new traveler!”

 

Turning, I saw a man approach. He had a large smile, glasses, and a bald head.

He also had a priest’s collar and black shirt.

“Hello, I’m Father Jim. Please, pay no attention to that old word ‘perdition.’

It was put there a long time ago by the old management.”

“Oh,” I said. “What is this way, if it is not what the sign says it is?”

Father Jim replied, “This is the most wonderful road in all creation! The way of Inclusion and Affirmation.”

 

As we walked, Father Jim explained all the wonders of the way of Inclusion and Affirmation.

“Do you love yourself as you truly are?” he asked.

“I love myself for how God made me,” I replied.

“No, no, no…,” he retorted with a smile and wink of his eye.

“True, God did make you, but that is not who you truly are. Who you truly resides in your passions, your desires. What or who gets you excited and lights a fire in your heart.”

“You mean, what I lust after?”

Shocked, Father Jim looked sternly and said, “there is no talk of ‘lust’—or sin for that matter, on this way. Such talk is bigoted and exclusionary.” He continued,

“Look at all these happy people walking on this road. They all believe in one simple truth: God is love and love does not judge. Love includes and affirms all.”

“Plus, how can so many people be wrong? The numbers speak for themselves.”

As we walked, others appeared along the side of the road.

One man, with deep concern on his face, carried a sign that simply read: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”

Upon seeing the man and his sign, Father Jim scoffed, “pay no attention to that narrow-minded bigot. He stands there judging those on the road like he’s God or something.”

“God is love and does not judge, jerk!” Father Jim shouted at the man.

“Remove the plank in your own eye!”

 

Still, others appeared along the side of the road holding bibles and wearing crosses around their necks. These seemed to be encouraging those on the way to keep going, to run even faster! They smiled and winked at those on the road; some even gave a “thumbs up” and “high-fives” to the fastest runners.

Seeing these, Father Jim said, “now there are real Christians. They encourage and accompany those along the way of Inclusion and Affirmation.”

And with a wink, he cheered, “Just like Jesus did!”

 

As we continued along the way of Inclusion and Affirmation, an uneasiness came over me.

The way seemed to get darker and hotter the more we traveled upon it.

The loss of light and the increase of heat was also noticed by Father Jim, who said:

“Ah, isn’t the darkness lovely!? And the heat! Just like a stary night by a campfire in Arizona…”

 

Eventually, the way before us ended in a giant funnel.

Millions upon millions of people swirled around the funnel and finally disappeared at the bottom…

Into utter darkness.

“Where does that funnel go,” I asked Father Jim.

“Oh, our final destination. The end of the way of Inclusion and Affirmation. It’s the tenth circle of hell, a brand-new addition to the original nine circles.”

He smiled and continued,

“There, all are accepted as they are, all are affirmed in whatever identity they choose, and self-love reigns supreme A true paradise!”

 

As Father Jim joined those swirling the dark hole, I awoke.

Covered in a cold sweat, I sat up, my heart pounding.

Again, I prayed…

“As I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake, I pray to the Lord my soul to take.”

And added:

“May I never smile and wink at sin, nor encourage others down the way of perdition. Amen.”

Thank you!

Read my other writing here.

A Walk Along the Way of Inclusion and Affirmation

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