the thinking bunch

Faith Community Minister—Mandi Richey

I am a lifelong Christian.  I grew up attending a church in a mainline denomination.  Let’s call them The Thinking Bunch.  I love The Thinking Bunch.  They are wonderful, grace-filled people.  But sometimes, I think they let their thinking get in the way of actually doing anything that would change the world.

The Thinking Bunch has a national gathering of their folks every two years.  They talk about important issues in the church and even make changes to the rules that govern them.  They spend hours and hours at this national meeting deliberating and talking about each side of the issue.  One of the issues they talked about was sexuality and how it related to what The Thinking Bunch defines as marriage.  In some places, same sex marriage is legal.  But The Thinking Bunch doesn’t allow its pastors to perform marriage ceremonies for two people of the same gender.  The Thinking Bunch is so divided on this issue, that many churches are deciding that they don’t want to be associated with The Thinking Bunch any longer. 

And they are leaving.

And my heart is breaking.

Now, this is an important issue.  Please do not hear me saying it isn’t.  What I am saying is that my heart breaks for The Thinking Bunch.  Of all the things it could be concerned with like hunger or poverty, or mission and outreach or peace, this is where they are spending their energy.  I just cannot understand how such an issue has overtaken an entire group of people.  Why can’t they become a Doing Bunch and stop thinking so much??

As a leader in the church, I want to make everyone feel welcome.  All people.  ALL of them.  No matter what their sexuality is.  Or their income.  Or their ethnicity or color of their skin.  I struggle as a member of the Thinking Bunch.  I think we shouldn’t focus so much on someone’s sexuality, but rather, what gifts and talents are they offering?  Shouldn’t the church be a place where people who want to use their gifts can use them?

Again, my heart breaks.  And I think it will keep breaking.  There doesn’t seem to be any answer yet.  The Thinking Bunch is divided.

Wasn’t Jesus about community?  About living together in love? And grace?  And helping people?  Didn’t he say, “A house divided cannot stand?”

Come on, Thinking Bunch.  Let’s get together!