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!

5 comments on “the thinking bunch

  1. It breaks my heart to see so many denominations shattering over this issue. I, too, wish we’d spend our energy on feeding the poor and clothing the naked, rather than judging folks.

    The problem I see is that many Christians still see homosexuality as sin. And once you define it as sin, it gets tricky. Yes, Jesus was about community, and living together, and grace, and helping. BUT, he also called people to radically reject their past and become born again as a new creation.

    Jesus didn’t tell the adulteress that it would be fine if she continued her line of work because he loved her and we should all get along. He told her to sin no more. Jesus fellowshipped with sinners and tax collectors…and fully expected them to change their sketchy ways. So it’s hard, I think, for those who so firmly believe that being gay is sinful to just “let it slide.”

    Christians are going to have to let go of their definition of homosexuality as sin before we can move past this issue. And I don’t think most are anywhere near that point yet.

  2. When you come to visit, we should talk about this. (so much nuance and inflection is lost over the Internet.). But the problem isn’t really about whether you are gay or straight. It is over infallibility of Scripture and how/when/where do you use Scripture to inform your decisions. And where/when/how DON’T you use it.

    • Excellent point. I’ve had that same thought myself. I often feel that those who keep a super strict interpretation have the hardest time with this. Those of us who are more loosey-goosey don’t anguish about it quite so much! 🙂

  3. Well put, Kate. I don’t think we are anywhere close to resolving this issue. Hopefully, with prayer and reconciliation, we can move forward. And people will stop fleeing from the church and start seeing it as a place where they can belong.

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