With the recent PJC decision ragrding Janie Spahr, I am again left wondering if we can truly agree to disagree about this particular “issue” in the church.
This semantics-driven decision and some of the responses I have seen only emphasize this quagmire that we are in regarding our current denominational health. I am amazed at the wonderful ministry that is happening even though we expend so much energy navigating around this huge elephant in the room that is asking us to define the nature of our denominational relationship.
I wonder if opposing Biblical understandings and homosexuality and the resulting effects of that belief: ordination, marriage, sexuality, etc. are able to live together under one denominational roof. Or do the very positions automatically create an atmosphere that neither could/should remain in relationship closer than ecumenical brother/sister in Christ?
Tough questions, but yet isn’t this really the BIG questions for all of us? We certainly cannot be expected to agree on everything, but to what extent can we disagree on some things?
What are we willing to live with?
I say this because of what I feel is the basic issue around homosexuality, it is a sin or is it not. At it’s heart, you either feel that homosexuality is a sin that takes us further from God or a gift from God that should be embraced. Agreeing to disagree mean that we really felt like either was possible and/or are open to the possibilities. I am not sure either side really is in that space.
Again, what can we live with?
For some issues I think this is entirely possible. For me I can live with agreeing to disagree on things such as . . .
- How do we engage in evangelism and mission;
- What language we use for God;
- Our voice/action in regards to the Middle East;
- Positions on a myriad of social issues;
But when it comes to homosexuality, regardless on which side of the aisle you live on, how long can one be engaged in a community where the position is held in the contrary? Could we agree to disagree about the ordination of women? Could we agree to disagree about interracial marriage? I don’t think we could, but yet for some reason we believe we can in this case.
This is not a call for folks who disagree either way to get the heck out of dodge, but it is a little nudge out there to see what folks are thinking. If in the end, it looks like we are headed in a particular direction or if we are already there, would our efforts be better spent in grace-filled disengagement that allows for new life? Do we keep passionately engaged in the discourse trying to reach some kind of resolution? Do we sit in the middle with a posture of “wait and see” and/or “don’t ask, don’t tell”?
- What do you think?
- What can you live with?
- Can we agree to disagree?
- What should we live with?
Would love to hear what folks are thinking about this. Feel free to comment of course, but would also love to have some folks blog about it, just send a trackback so folks can find ya.