Yesterday, I wrote about the ways that conflict can help us in our transformation. Our church is embroiled in a bit of a conflict right now. I attend a Methodist church and we tend to be a very liberal church in a very liberal conference. But that doesn’t mean that everyone in our church holds the same view points by any means. Some how or another, though, we have always been a church that was able to hold all of those varying viewpoints in one vessel. There is a lot of loving grace toward each other in our church.
Our church has determined to become a Reconciling Congregation, which advocates for FULL participation for ALL people in the life of the church. The primary focus of the ministry is the inclusion of Gays, Lesbians and Transgendered peoples. Therefore, in the church right now, we have a group that has an agenda and they want the support of the congregation for that agenda. However, not all support the agenda.
Recently, a team of people at our church had volunteered to help with a prison ministry called Kairos which seeks to share the true and unconditional love of God with people in prison. However, when the local organization realized that one of the people from St. John was lesbian, she was told that she could not participate. The rest of the team resigned in order to stand in solidarity with this beautiful and valuable member of our community. At church on Sunday night our pastor said that we were not finished with this matter.
So, do we pursue conflict with our Christian brothers and sisters? Do we even pursue a route of conflict within our own church as we work toward full acceptance of EVERY child of God? The answer to me is clearly, yes. But it will be a challenge for all of our community and our leadership to navigate this lovingly and in ways that are truly reconciling in the midst of conflict.