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Over and over again in many conversations about and between theological polar opposites, we often hear of this "great middle" that are innocent bystanders to our theological and ideological battles.  This is the group that is not as loud as the "left" or "right" and is generally seen as the group of people that the institution should in many ways be driven by.  The great mystery of the church, but a huge player in our discussions, these are the folks who live in the "Middle Way."  

At it's best this Middle Way provides an opportunity to sit in the tension together, struggle with our disagreement and discern the mind of Christ.  The Middle Way gives us our best shot at getting it right over the long haul.  At its worse, the Middle Way is simply a place of silence, apathy and the bastion of the status quo.  The Middle Way does not rock the boat.  Ironically, I will submit that probably, like most things, the truth may indeed be somewhere in . . . well . . . "The Middle" but when it comes to deep theological disagreements such as Biblical interpretation that leads to our current battles over homosexuality, I have not seen it lived in its best form. 

I would like to think there is this Middle Way, a place where a great number of our people do not simply succumb to a particular posture, but embrace it.  And while the existence of the Middle Way need not be proved to me per se, I know I am not the only one that struggles with the idea, reality and/or efficacy of the Middle Way.  The Middle place I yearn for though is not one that is borne out of our weariness of the discussion, it is borne out of a discovery of larger common understanding of our Reformed faith that remains healthy, prophetic, compassionate and faithful.   I would love to be shown the light, because, as I have argued before, when it comes to these deep theological issues, I am not sure we should or could agree to disagree.

I started thinking about this a little more after Tim Marvil left a comment on my last Moderator Monday that was directed at my service this far.  His point about "healing" I think brings up some important questions for the future of our theological and institutional life together.

I do believe you have done very
well in the first 6 months. You have spoken with love, compassion and
reason. You have done little, if anything, to cause further dissension.
You have not been the spark of healing however. I pray that may come,
but we have to still recognize that we have two diametrically opposed
minorities pulling the denomination apart. As long as these two
theologically disparate groups battle for not only inclusion, but supremacy, then peace will not occur. I have to say I am tired of it. I
fall into neither camp and feel victimized. But I pray for the strength
to continue and that whatever happens it be Spirit led and not human
pride dominated. I have no answers in myself – it is only through
mutual discernment and prayer the body of Christ has a chance.

So . . . I guess the big question is, when it comes to the pressing and crucial theological questions of the day especially around issues of homosexuality, "Is there a middle way?"  Is there a "healed" place where two sides can meet and find common approaches to theology and institutional life?  What does a movement towards this look like?  Does one side have to give into the other becoming winners and losers?  Does one side have to simply swallow an interpretation and live with it in faithful disagreement?  Do we have to make some kind of "final decision" as a signal towards gracious separation?  Does someone simply have to decide to leave this part of the family?  Are these not even the right questions?

So you tell me, is there a Middle Way?

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