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On the Journey...
(Weekly insights from FMC)
July 29, 2015
Much has been said and debated about the delegate decisions at KC2015 regarding the resolutions on Forbearance and Membership Guidelines. I have to admit, that coming out of our wonderful experiences of worship, discernment, and connecting with sisters and brothers across the denomination, I was still wondering how these to apparently polarizing resolutions will function in our faith community at a denominational, institutional, conference and congregational level. I've served the church at each of these levels, yet I still found it hard to wrap my head around it all.
Then one day I was talking with my daughter, who serves as a youth and worship minister at Pleasant View, and she asked, "Dad, what does this all mean?" Up to that point, my answer to others asking a similar question had been, "I really don't know, I suppose we'll find out." This time, as I began thinking once again of my reply, something struck me... There is a certain tension that exists between these two resolutions, and we are living it out, everyday within our local churches!
We recently affirmed, by more than 92% that the 1995 Confession of Faith from a Mennonite Perspective will continue to be our foundation document when looking at issues of theology, and responding to life issues within the congregation. As part of our process of discerning this step, we realized that we have many within our congregation that would hold opinions and beliefs that were not completely in line with the Confession of Faith. These variances ranged from participation in the military, women in leadership, divorce & remarriage, and yes, same sex relationships. In the midst of these differences, we are not kicking anyone out of our church. We still worship together, even as we extend grace, build peace, and share love within and beyond our community... you see, we forbear with one another on our journey with Jesus.
It struck me, in many ways these two denominational resolutions are seeking to do what our congregation, and dare I say nearly every other Mennonite Congregation are seeking to do, live within that tension. We are simply (or not so simply) seeking this on a denominational, institutional, and conference levels.
I know this perspective doesn't answer all of the "what if" questions, that are sure to come for the various levels of our family of faith. However, it has given me an intentional way of looking at each other, and those who serve throughout the church, as we journey together for the cause of Christ.
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