Last week I joined 70 other RCA leaders from across the country and our denomination to seek a way forward even as many disagree, fundamentally, on the topic of same-sex relationships and the ordination for gay men and women. You can read the result of that gathering, here.
What I wanted to share was what I experienced and some of my conclusions based upon our gathering.
First, I have some dear friends who are on the opposite side of this conversation around same-sex activity and ordination. I disagree with them openly and strongly, and I love them dearly. I think highly of them. I am glad that I know them. One of the things that I have learned is that the conversation around same-sex relationships and ordination is not just an issue but about real people–people who love God and want to follow him. And my progressive friends are serious about their faith (even though I believe they are seriously wrong on this central gospel issue). I never want to forget this; they are seeking to be faithful. I personally think that if we lowered our biblical rhetoric and entered into relationships with those we disagree with, we might do more good than what we could accomplish through arguing. I am not saying we should not stand for what is right, but I am saying that when Jesus said love your enemies, he probably meant it.
Secondly, We are at a lamentable divide. Words like inclusion, gospel, salvation, marriage, purity and covenantal responsibility mean different things to traditionalists like me than they do to my progressive friends. I am not sure there is a way to stay together and be biblically faithful when our understanding of Christianity is so different. Many folks were earnest in such an attempt last week but I simply am not sure that it is possible. I am still willing to try because our covenant relationship called the RCA is not something to toss aside but I am just not sure. Departure for some seems inevitable.
Third, the recommendations that are going to General Synod from this council is good, serious work. It is the effort of men and women seeking to do the impossible: find a way forward on an issue in which so many strongly disagree . I am sad that I hear many of my friends lambast the work of this council. The real decision is up to General Synod, 2016 and the classes that make up our denomination. Take this and do gospel good but don’t disparage the good work of those who put a lot of effort to produce what is being presented.
Fourth, I love Tom Devries. He is a good man and an amazing leader. We need to pray for him. He too has an impossible job. I respect him more and more as I see him in action.
Finally, I am so thankful for Jesus. There is no one like him. He has been so good to me in my sexual brokenness. I have been transformed by his love! I believe with all my heart that he is the hope of the world for the LGBT community. So, I keep standing, proclaiming and living Jesus. I pray that you will do the same.