There is one body and one Spirit, just as we were called to the one hope in our calling. Ephesians 4:4
In a church I once served outside Our Nation’s Capital – where elections impacted personal employment as well as national policy – some of our ushers added an additional responsibility to their duties on Sunday mornings during election season: they counted the bumper stickers in the church parking lot. If the GOP bumper stickers seriously outnumbered the Democratic bumper stickers – it was time to include more progressive images and ideas in sermons and prayers. If the Democratic bumper stickers seriously outnumbered the Republican bumper stickers, it was time to mention historically conservative examples.
Call me a fence sitter, but I believe that Scripture is an equal opportunity offender. And we are called to be a Church that looks like the kingdom of God, with a rainbow of all races and ethnicities, political proclivities and ages, education levels, physical/mental abilities, and socioeconomic classes.
And speaking of rainbows . . .
I am fairly certain that I offended some of my friends and family last week when I joyously touted that enough Presbyteries had voted in favor of changing the definition of marriage in my denomination, the PCUSA. The new definition is:
Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the wellbeing of the entire human family. Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives.
These are fighting words – heartbreaking words – to some people I love. They are also words that make many of my sisters and brothers weep with joy. For a long, long time, faithful followers of Jesus who are also LBGTQ have waited for the rest of the church to experience an Acts of the Apostles moment:
- Remember when God made food clean that had once been considered profane?
- Remember when the Council of Jerusalem debated whether or not the uncircumcised could be saved? There was “no small dissension” about this issue and “they parted company” over the issue.
- Remember that in the discussion about whether or not being uncircumcised was okay, it was not okay to “fornicate”?
Being able to marry the person you love – if we are concerned about fornication – seems to be a good and holy thing.
Yes, we can argue about these issues (and God knows we have.) We can stay together as a church in spite of mixed perspectives on the interpretation of Scripture. We could “break up” (again) as a Church. Or we could do something completely different – although I don’t know what that might be.
I believe that God continues to speak. (Thank you United Church of Christ friends.) And I believe that sometimes it’s a good thing to break up the family. And I also believe that God still calls us to wrestle angels.
And I believe it’s imperative to be a good sport – whether we are talking about March Madness or denominational policy-making. May God have mercy upon us. May God continue to speak.
Image source unknown.