BRC on “Can we agree to disagree about homosexuality?”

BRC or Bruce Reyes-Chow, who is standing for moderator this summer in San Jose, posted a beautiful post with a brass set.

I wrote a response to his questions of

  • What do you think?
  • What can you live with?
  • Can we agree to disagree?
  • What should we live with?

I say that in this instance the position of agreeing to disagree is fence sitting. How can one agree to disagree on an issue of sinful behavior (for those that hold this position) and the systemic exclusion of part of creation to fully participate in the life of the church? The disagreement involves human life. People that live, work, and pray with us.
I am beside myself when the “issue” is spoke of in manners that forget to mention that we are dealing in matters that affect the lives and quality of living of beloved, fearful and wonderfully made creatures and children of God.
The Presbyterians are known for protecting the minority opinion in matters like this and the ones you mentioned in your post. This issue has invaded every aspect of the denomination. In turn this makes the call process more difficult in a time when we need to be sending forth more ministers.
What is the right thing to do? I know what I would say. I wonder where the dialogue is about this issue. Are we meeting with others that disagree with our position in this matter? Are we covenanting with each other to listen, share, and love each other? The PUP report came out and it got slammed for trying to undermine the rightful standards and interpretations of the PCUSA. When it asked the church to walk together in vulnerability and invest in the body of the Kingdom.
I question the motives of anyone that does not look into themselves and witness no sin. I fear those that point fingers righteously at others as they covet in their hearts those things that are sinful. Hypocrisy runs rampant.
This is Jesus’ church. The answer is not to live in fear. The war on terror has infiltrated the church. Here we are, proclaiming a Mighty Sovereign God, as we exclude and worry about death. Where is our faith? We are so worried about death that we are bleeding out. The “issue” of Homosexuality will become a “non-issue”. Where is the proclamation that in life and in death we are Gods? Do we believe anymore what the confessions offer?
Does it matter what I can live with? I am, we are called to walk humbly, love kindness and our neighbor. A vanguard is not full of love and humility. What orthodoxy shall we embrace? How shall we hem the heavenly garments of God? What box shall we place the Sovereignty of God in?

Least we forget, “In life and in death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve. We trust in Jesus Christ, Fully human, fully God. Jesus proclaimed the reign of God: preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives, teaching by word and deed and blessing the children, healing the sick and binding up the brokenhearted, eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners, and calling all to repent and believe the gospel. Unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition, Jesus was crucified, suffering the depths of human pain and giving his life for the sins of the world. God raised Jesus from the dead, vindicating his sinless life, breaking the power of sin and evil, delivering us from death to life eternal. We trust in God, whom Jesus called Abba, Father. In sovereign love God created the world good and makes everyone equally in God’s image male and female, of every race and people, to live as one community. But we rebel against God; we hide from our Creator. Ignoring God’s commandments, we violate the image of God in others and ourselves, accept lies as truth, exploit neighbor and nature, and threaten death to the planet entrusted to our care. We deserve God’s condemnation. Yet God acts with justice and mercy to redeem creation. In everlasting love, the God of Abraham and Sarah chose a covenant people to bless all families of the earth. Hearing their cry, God delivered the children of Israel from the house of bondage. Loving us still, God makes us heirs with Christ of the covenant. Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home, God is faithful still. We trust in God the Holy Spirit, everywhere the giver and renewer of life. The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith, sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor, and binds us together with all believers in the one body of Christ, the church. The same Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture, engages us through the Word proclaimed, claims us in the waters of baptism, feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation, and calls women and men to all ministries of the church. In a broken and fearful world the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in church and culture, to hear the voices of peoples long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace. In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, Come, Lord Jesus! With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Bruce, I am not sure what we should live with. I am convinced that we must live in to the grace freely given in Christ.

6 thoughts on “BRC on “Can we agree to disagree about homosexuality?”

  1. This Homosexuality “issue” had me so down yesterday I was thinking of leaving the church. But- I won’t. I just need some time.

    It’s not good enough to agree to disagree. We have to fight for justice. Here’s an example where fighting is a necessity. We may have to love our opponent as we fight them, but we cannot back down. It’s NOT the same as sin to have a sexual orientation. The first step IS gay marriage becoming legal, or at least recognized by the church. It would differentiate committed relationships and “lust gone rampant”. Technically, as far as legality goes, the separation of church and state should take care of that. But due to people’s prejudices the vote was lost. Prejudices that are justified by passing the buck to God.

  2. Ryan, I realized just now that I don’t really know specifically what your ideas are about how the church addresses homosexuality. I’ll enter into the conversation if only to hear you put forth in one place your thoughts on the subject. To give you some context, here’s where I’m coming from in a nutshell:

    I feel that the church is not adequately addressing the needs of the homosexual community and homosexual individuals. However, I feel that scripture states clearly that homosexuality, as both a sexual act and a state of being, is sinful. I won’t say anything more about my own opinion right now, primarily because that’s as far as it’s developed.

    What I’d like to hear from you is how you feel we should address homosexuality in the church at the levels of the community and the individual, and in laity and leadership. As part of that I’d like you to incorporate what you feel about the sinfulness of homosexuality and how that affects how address homosexuality in the church. I hold scripture in very high regard, so please use as much scripture as possible in your response. I hope that’s not too tall an order. Once I know where you stand more specifically I’m sure I’ll have more questions for you.

    Ps, Sorry if this all is a little one sided, but believe me when I say that’s really because I haven’t thought this issue through to have more thoughts than what I said above. I know you’ve thought about this a lot, so I look forward to hearing where exactly you are and how you got there. I think one of the most important things we can do as Christians is listen to the stories of others in order to help us along our own journeys.

  3. Ryan, I really admire you for entering the Pastoral world, having the views that you have. I hope you can keep your patience and grace while trying to change people’s hearts. I know I could not. Frankly, I think if the Church cannot open it’s eyes to see the truth, it should die. But that’s why I’m no Pastor. Even though I feel like doing some preaching right now!

  4. Dani says:

    I agree that the issue is too deep to agree to disagree. That stance would hold the church together, but ultimately do a disservice because it does not resolve the heart of the issue. It is merely “a waiting place.” Having said that, a waiting place isn’t always bad when you have a conflict this fierce.

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