God’s Presence . . . and Ours

February 9, 2014




Until today, I’ve never prepared a sermon on gay and lesbian relationships for this congregation. I’ve avoided this topic because the issue has been so contentious and emotional for Mennonites in the last 30 years. In families, congregations, conferences, and in the denomination, we have vociferously disagreed with each otherover this. In 2011 during the denomination’s biennial gathering in Pittsburgh, I sat at the same table with a delegate from another state who was furious—I think that word accurately describes her emotional state—who was furious with the denomination’s current position on gay and lesbian sexual relationships. In 1986 and 1987, our two predecessor denominations passed resolutions on sexuality. Among other things, these resolutions said that gay and lesbian sexual activity is—like premarital, extramarital, and abusive sexual activity—wrong. These denominational resolutions also committed us to continuing conversation on these questions, which I take to mean that we want to keep learning from each other as new
insights emerge.

These resolutions were approved 27 and 28 years ago. A number of you here today were not yet born, and a number of people who were alive then and who voted on those resolutions are now dead. In the 28 years since those resolutions were passed, a number of things have shifted in the church and in the culture. In this sermon I want to notice these shifts.

Bible References

  • Ephesians 4:1 - 6