Sunday, October 16, 2005
When the church doesn't want to welcome the prodigal.
Wow. The Rev. John Thomas, president of the United Church of Christ, offers a pointed and illuminating critique of the resistance of some in his denomination to the UCC's embrace of gay people and same-sex marriage. In the midst of a report on the difficulties the denomination has faced since its General Synod approved a resolution supporting same-sex marriage this summer, he said:
“We know there are those in our church who struggle out of their own sense of biblical integrity over the church’s welcome and affirmation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people,” he said. “But when I receive emails and letters from UCC members railing against such a welcome, angry that God’s gracious love is lavished on the unworthy, bitter that the church’s attention is being directed to the lost rather than to those who have faithfully tended the farm, then I sense the voice of the older brother in our midst.”
He also urged candor about the organized, well-funded movement to undermine progressives in the mainline churches:
“Groups like the Evangelical Association of Reformed, Christian and Congregational Churches and the Biblical Witness Fellowship are increasingly being exposed even as they are increasingly aggressive,” Thomas said. “Their relationship to the right-wing Institute for Religion and Democracy and its long-term agenda of silencing a progressive religious voice while enlisting the church in an unholy alliance with right-wing politics is now longer deniable. . . . United Church of Christ folk like to be ‘nice,’ to be hospitable. But, to play with a verse of scripture just a bit, we doves innocently entertain these serpents in our midst at our own peril.”
("Prodigal’s Resentful ‘Older Brother’ Still Undermines Faithfulness, Thomas Tells UCC's Executive Council," J. Bennett Guess, United Church News 10.15.05)
Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 16 October 2005 at 8:51 AM