When I first interviewed with the District Committee on Ordained Ministry, and every year since, I’ve discussed the controversial topic of same-sex partners in the church. The first time it was a question directed to me, and I didn’t have a solid answer, other than to confess that I was firmly planted on the proverbial fence as it related to the issue. I felt like I could see valid points to the arguments in either direction, but could not make an opinion that I could call my own. I was unsure and fearful of taking my own stand on the wrong side of the debate.
Every year since, I’ve volunteered to speak on where my soul-searching and Scripture-searching has led me on the topic with the Committee. I feel as a Christian, and especially as a candidate in ministry, I have a responsibility to research, discuss, question, and pray on sticky topics until I have some place to put a stake in the ground and say “this is what I believe.” … even if I have to put a footnote that indicates that this is subject to change without prior written notification.
A few months ago I felt I finally reached the point where I am ready to put a stake in the ground as it relates to who should be “in” the church. I recall the exact moment the thought came to me, almost as an epiphany:
When I stand before the throne of judgement to give an account of my life, I would rather answer the question of “why did you let these people in?” than answer the question “why did you keep these people out?”
For me, after that thought entered my head, things looked a lot clearer on the issue that previously felt like nothing more than a gray fog.
If you have an issue you can’t decide right from wrong, please don’t give up. Keep wrestling with it until you can take a stand on it. Once you’ve taken a stand, keep listening and wrestling. We must remain humble in our judgments because we are mortal and finite beings, trying to understand the will and direction of an immortal and infinite God.