Our Open and Affirming discussions have concluded – at least for a while. We may have more occasions for learning and discussion later. Watch for details to come.
At our most recent discussions we talked about how people in our church seem to be “open” to many kinds of people being a part of the church and even sharing in positions of leadership and ministry. I believe that is true -- we have lesbian and gay persons participating in the life of the church. But some people may not be ready for the “affirming” part of being ONA – they just aren’t sure if same-sex relationships are right and what God intends for humankind.
I understand that, and I think many other people do as well. This is a learning experience for many of us, and it seems to go against what was taught in the past. There are also many other Christians, and even other members of the United Church of Christ, who are not sure this is right, and who would be against being “open and affirming.”
After reflecting on this, I thought we don’t have to necessarily say that we are ready to affirm people’s behavior. We can admit that we are still learning. And, I realized there may be many people in our church whose behaviors I don’t want to affirm – including my own. There may be people in our church who have money and haven’t given it all away in order to follow Jesus, as the gospels recount that Jesus told some people they should do. There may be some people who do not love their enemies as they love their neighbors (Matthew 5:44). There may be some who sometimes speak unkindly of others (Matthew 5:22). I am occasionally guilty of these things as well. And yet such people are welcome in our church through the grace of God in Christ.