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Supernatural Inclusion

On my way home today I heard a piece on pbs about how the practice of technological inclusion is working to transform lives and communities in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Technological Inclusion, I discovered, is the process of making technological advancements accessible to those for whom such advancements are beyond reach. This process entails making technology understandable and affordable. Older people, for instance, often do not understand new technologies and prefer archaic and outdated (which usually means that they are more labor-intensive, less effective and more time consuming) methods that they are used to. Lower income communities, on the other hand, often do not have the financial ability to procure newer technologies and are often excluded for economic reasons. The process of technological inclusion then consists of educating older people who have yet to understand the benefits of newer technologies and subsidizing financially underprivileged people who desire such technologies but do not have the means of acquiring them.

The people who benefit from technological inclusion learn how to utilize technological resources as a means of understanding and transforming the realities of their experiences. For instance, a group of ten jr. high school aged boys who were given cell phones with internet access and video cameras used their phones to 1) video rats rummaging through loose garbage on the streets of Rio, 2) make people aware of the problem by posting the videos on youtube, and 3) get the word out through text messages and emails. The result was that the garbage problem was brought to the attention of the city authorities and measures were taken to deal with the rampant garbage problem. Making these boys recipients of the benefits of technological inclusion empowered them to understand and transform their environment!

As I listened to this story it dawned on me that the primary activity of the church could be described as Supernatural Inclusion. Supernatural Inclusion is the process of making supernatural resources accessible to those who are excluded from the benefit of such resources. Like technological inclusion, supernatural inclusion also entails making the supernatural understandable and affordable. The educative aspects of this process are directed toward those who are so accustomed to living by natural means that they do not yet see the benefit of the supernatural, or do not even believe that it exists. This archaic way of living is referred to in Scripture as the flesh. The first aspect of supernatural inclusion is educating people about the fact that living by the flesh is far more labor-intensive, less effective and more time consuming than living by the Spirit and participating in the supernatural resources of the Spirit-filled life. And the worst part of it is that even with all that extra work you still don't get the results from the flesh that you get from the Spirit. Just as people die all the time because of a technological deficit, so people die all the time because of a supernatural deficit. If we can succeed in educating people about the power of supernatural living, we can not only change lives, but empower people to change lives!

The affordability component is directed toward those who understand the benefit of the supernatural and may even desire to participate in the resources of the supernatural, but are not willing/able to pay the price. Like the latest technology, supernatural living is costly. It requires the relinquishment of the claim to personal sovereignty and abandonment to the lordship of Christ. Many people cannot afford this because they are spiritually impoverished having been enslaved by the dictatorial powers of sin and the demonic. Making the supernatural resources of heaven available to this group of people requires the payment of their debts (by the blood of Christ) and the release of supernatural life (through faith, the preaching of the gospel, the prophetic, prayer, etc). In other words, these individuals know that Jesus can help them, but are unable to seek him or believe him for themselves. They need friends who can tear a whole in the roof to lower them down to Jesus.

Supernatural inclusion is not religious inclusion: our goal is not to make the religion of Christianity accessible to those who are outside of its boundaries, but to make the supernatural resources of heaven accessible! The goal is not to lead people into Christian practices, but into supernatural experiences. Empowered with the resources of heaven, people will emerge from their encounters with believers with the ability to change their lives and their communities with the power of God!

If our churches began to understand their role in the world as being characterized by supernatural inclusion, the result will be a Christianity that is not only full of charismatic expression, but characterized by the process of educated openness. I am a charismatic-Pentecostal, but I want more than the ability to have charismatic experiences; I want to help others have charismatic experiences. I want more than the power to lay hands on the sick and heal them; I want to empower others to lay hands on the sick and heal them. I want more than the ability to hear and speak powerful words from God; I want to empower others to hear and speak powerful words from God. I want more than a powerful Christianity; I want an empowering Christianity! This, I believe, is God's heart for the church of the 21st century!

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Author: admin
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4 comments:

  1. Good stuff PB! It seems so much of the church has been living in the "flesh" and forfeited her inheritance for so long that wherever I go, I feel a great and consistent zeal for supernatural inclusion. My only impatience with seminary is that I feel I am missing out on the equipping work of supernatural inclusion!

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  2. I hear you pastor Christian! What seminary is doing for you is equipping you to educate a much broader audience. Hang in there!

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  3. Awesome words P.Benjamin! Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

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  4. Phenomenal! Please continue to share.

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