Last weekend was so powerful. Lots of people have come up to me and expressed gratitude for Chris Rader’s openness, authenticity, vulnerability and passion. Lots of people shared appreciation for the kind of church expressed in my little Kingdom Values Approach explanation.
We also had some questions about issues of sexuality and homosexuality from last weekend.
This is a huge issue. There are lots of arguments flying around and not a little bit of emotion. Our pastoral team has spent hours and hours looking at this issue and trying to discern how to share the Good News in a way that makes sense and is faithful to what it actually says in the Bible prayerfully scouring the texts, reading the best interpreters and taking into account the “whole counsel of God.”
So I thought I’d give you a peek at what some of our thoughts. After one of these times in which we spent an entire day studying, praying and discussing, I wrote up these “statements”.
They’re not really ready for publication. There’s some insider language that alludes to our discussions. If I had time I’d turn them into essays and more conversational blog posts. But since the questions are current I thought I’d just lay them out for you. I think they’ll make sense.
- WELCOME – Yes, we are all welcome as we are at Journey. This welcome is without condition or prior commitment without commitment to change or merit.
- We are all on a journey to conformity to Christ’s image – a journey toward wholeness. This journey will continue as long as we live this life.
- We are clear on the scriptural witness of God’s ideal, “plan A” for our sexuality. “Plan A”, revealed on page 1 of the Bible is Man and Woman together made in the image of God. Our sexuality is thus expressed either in the “Sacrament” (a visible picture of a great invisible reality) of marriage between a man and a woman or in chaste, faithful waiting for the Greater Reality of the Union of Christ and His Bride. With our imperfect lives we hold up this ideal as God’s intent, plan and picture. [I know there is a TON of meaning in this statement – see our series called “INCARNATE” where we unpacked this over 8 weekends. You can get the podcast of these messages on this website]
- IDENTITY – Those of us who are Christ followers have our identity in Christ. This subverts, supplants and supersedes all other loci of identity – be they “positive, negative or neutral.”
- VALUES – Our approach is to focus on Kingdom values – some of which are “common to man” and some of which are counter-cultural at any given moment. As one draws closer to the Center [i.e. Jesus Christ] one’s values and behaviors will be challenged in all different areas including our sexuality.
- ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – We believe that the Holy Spirit is active in His Church. We believe that He is effectively working with all of us to bring us to the fullness of Christ, transforming us into His Likeness as revealed in Scripture. We believe this is a personal, custom process. We have no desire to subvert the role of the Holy Spirit by either…
- Insisting on an order of change that may or may not be His agenda for the person
- Interposing ourselves between people and the Scripture shielding them from what God may be saying.
I hope this gives a little more context especially to my Kingdom Values Approach piece from last weekend.
The best way to get the whole picture of what Journey is about, how we roll, what we value is to go to what we call FIRST STEPS on the first Sunday of every month. We feed you lunch, introduce our pastors, share our values, lay out Journey DNA and answer any question you have. This launches you into OUR JOURNEY, a five-session process that is about belonging and becoming. In fact there is a FIRST STEPS this weekend! We’ll save a you a sandwich!