We stand at a crucial point in the history of our church. The internal conflict over the issue of homosexuality is very deep. There are large numbers of hurting people who will be significantly affected by what the church says on these matters. This calls for cool heads and warm hearts.
In a brief, but incisive article "Homosexuality and the Church," Timothy Lull gives advice to our divided community.
Lull congratulates the progressives among us for their courage to speak a word of hope for the many who suffer. He cautions the progressives to remember that not all change is for the better. What is needed is not condescending language but humility of spirit.
Lull congratulates the conservatives among us for their caution and even their stubborn tenacity in their endeavour to honour the tradition of the church. He cautions them to think of the church not as a dead monument but as a living movement.
Lull urges the great majority, those who are not eager to study and discuss such issues, to live faithfully and creatively as all of us seek the authentic gifts of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
It was not the purpose of our sessions to propose a formal course of action, nor even to develop a consensus on the matter before us. These issues are just too complex for that. But no doubt each one of us has moved somewhat from their original position. Some of us may have come to a greater appreciation of gays and lesbians in their struggles. Others may have become more confused about the whole thing.
At this point it may be helpful to reflect on the road we have travelled together. One approach would be to share with each other what has happened to you personally in the course of our studies.
What has impressed you? What has caused you anguish?
What resolutions, if any, have you made with regard to your own way of relating to friends and strangers who may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered?
What options are open to the church at this time?
What struggles lie ahead as we come to terms with a movement that is not likely to go away?