Let’s meet halfwayBy Roger Martin Lawrence, Kan.
Thank you for covering the gay/lesbian issue in depth. I was a delegate from Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, Kan., to last year’s Western District Conference. After 15 years at Peace, I’ve learned Mennonites have a regrettable tendency to schism. We need a vaccine against that. The pastor of a Houston church dropped a nugget of wisdom at the conference. The issue, he said, is not who follows Jesus or doesn’t, whether we trust Paul or Jesus more, whether congregations or denominations should have the last word. The conversation’s “about all of those things,” he said. “And we need to figure out how to dialogue and keep those values in tension with one another.”
Personal contact and the exchange of stories by congregants from Mennonite congregations at profound variance might be key ingredients of the vaccine I have in mind. Specifically, our church folks could meet with some from churches that opposed our pastor’s performing a same-sex covenant ceremony, and those on the fence. Mapquest says it’s 213 miles from Lawrence to Harper, Kan., and 191 from Hydro, Okla. (one of several towns with Mennonite churches that raised objections to our pastor’s decision) to Harper. Maybe the Mennonite church in Harper has a spare room we could use. If we hold peace dear, shouldn’t we be willing to meet halfway?
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