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Thursday, June 16, 2011

ALL are welcome at the Table

We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As a part of the Body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord's Table, as God has welcomed us. ~ Disciples of Christ Statement of Identity

This statement seems quite consistent with Campbell's rejection of exclusion. It seems consistent with the priesthood of all believers concept in the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery. And it seems to unambigously call Disciple congregations to welcome people into the Body of Christ regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

I recently read an trascript from a pastor stating his objection to accepting gay people into full membership and leadership in the church. The pastor took pains to demonstrate that he did not hate gay people, and in fact apologized for his Christian brothers who had caused such harm to gay people. He structured his talk by focussing on truth and grace. The truth part was an effort to justify opposition to the GLBT community with Biblical citation. The grace part was about the need for Christians to have an attitude of love toward gay people.

Surely there were similar good people who could not accept the role of women in leadership. Surely there were similar good people who could not accept interracial marriage. But eventually, the real truth broke through. And now, Christians are ashamed of Biblical justifications of oppressing women and racial minorities.

It is time for all Disciple churches to read this statement of identity, to search their hearts, and to stand up for the radical inclusion called for by our church tradition and, indeed, the ministry of Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

Bob Howard said...

If you want to "criminalize" loving someone of the same sex using scriptures as your legal support, then to be consistent you must include on the same level all actions which are "outlawed" in the community of faith in Yahweh. For instance, just a few doors down from condemnation of same-sex relations in the Hebrew Scriptures are similar regulations proclaiming capital punishment for children disobeying their parents, doing normal things on the wrong day (the Sabbath), and so on. Just to be completely faithful, you understand.

And as we kill the miscreants out of legal consistency, we can proclaim our love for them.

Or we can recognize that Jesus pointed to the purpose of the Torah, including the legal parts, as the guidelines for a new human society modeled after God's will for human living. With justice, compassion, and eager to reconcile. Jesus broke ossified boundaries left and right, in order to embrace the excluded with God's love.