Same Words, Opposite Application
In discussions around this General Assembly (not seeking to specifically reflect the private discussion in our table group, of course) I have notice something that is happening around these discussions connected to the place of LGBTQ persons within the church.
I am remarking that in a lot of our discussions we are saying the same things and yet meaning the opposite.
For example, in our discussions I hear people saying, "The most important thing is that we follow the Bible," and everyone absolutely agrees with that.
Some mean, that we must uncritically agree with the passages that condemn homosexual activity.
But others mean that we need to do what Jesus did and go out of our way to accept the outsider and give them a place within the church. They mean that the church is, as Paul taught, a place where all distinctions between people disappear.
In our discussions I hear people saying that we welcome all with the grace and acceptance of Christ but that the process of growing in grace in Christ there is an expectation that a disciple is transformed more into the image of Christ.
When some people say that, they seem to mean something like that when LGBTQ people come to the gospel they will necessarily stop living out their orientation in ways that these people object to.
When other people say that, they have in mind that the God's grace will bring about tranformation in us, often by means of our contact with LGBTQ people.
We all agree that sin must not be afraid of talking about sin and about the damage that it causes. Of course, some are thinking of the sexual sins they see LGBTQ people as committing. Others are thinking of what they see as the sinful hostility or rejection directed againsts some of God's children.
We agree that we must all seek for God's will, but each seems to be thinking that the other group are the ones who really need a new discovery of what God's will really is.
And I could go on.
I'm not sure what I should do with this. Should I rejoice that we all agree in what we say, or should I despair that we just seem to be speaking totally different languages?