Monday, 24 October 2016

Oct. 23 at FMC. Grey Areas of Grace

Sunday morning our worship service was based off of the "Being a Faithful Church" resolution passed at our national assembly this past July. I preached a message entitled; "Grey Areas of Grace: Unity in Our Differences" which was a combination of Bible Study based on Romans 14 and 15 and stories to help challenge our thinking about being a united church in spite of conflicting views on contemporary issues.

I did a lot of reading in preparation for Sunday. Here is a list of the resources I found most helpful. (If you only have time for one, skip down to the bottom of the list and read through Josiah Neufeld's article in the Walrus!)

I am also willing to share copies of my sermon if requested.The recording is available from our church office. For an electronic or print copy, please contact me either through comments on this site, or by email at: <pastor@edmonton1st.mennonitechurch.ab.ca>

"Being a Faithful Church" (BFC) was a 9 year process focused on building our communal ability to discern and make decisions together as a Mennonite church. It encouraged congregational participation throughout, using scholarship, Bible Study, feeback from churches, historical and contemporary case studies, and more. The motion presented in Saskatoon was formed out of the context of this 9 year process. To see the complete BFC document go to:

http://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/5/13465

A 2014 article by Glenn Brubacher and David Augsburger asking the question; "Does Romans 14-15:7 contain helpful instructions to address the current divisive subject of covenanted same sex relations?"  is a helpful piece. This article provides guidance for constructive listening and practice.

http://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/43/17272

A Letter to my Congregation, by Ken Wilson, I would call a "must read" book as congregations struggle with the idea of inclusion, no matter where you or your church finds itself on the issue. Wilson is an evangelical pastor. Faced with real people of real faith who struggle with their sexuality, Wilson responds with love, and questions himself. Through thorough Bible study and a humble love for God, the church, and individuals, his journey through the question of inclusion is compassionate and inspiring. He's also a good writer, which makes this book a pleasure to read! (Our church has several copies. If you can't find one, ask me for my office copy.)

The Canadian Mennonite Magazine did some excellent reporting at Assembly 2016 where the BFC motion was passed. Go to the July 25, 2016 issue for coverage of the Assembly.

http://www.canadianmennonite.org/reader/6385

Finally, I loved this article in the Walrus. "Mennonite Pride; Lessons in lgbtq Rights from a Surprising Source." by Josiah Neufeld. Neufeld grew up in the Mennonite Church, but as an adult, left it and Christianity behind. As an observer at Assembly 2016, however, he found himself impressed by the way the church is working at its issues. I found that his outside the church view was incredibly inspiring. From the inside, we might only see the frustration, the slowness, and the pain. Neufeld also sees hope and an example for the world. His article is very well written and a great read!

http://thewalrus.ca/mennonite-pride/

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