“Theological reflection is like breathing: if we stop, we die,” said board of faith and life (BFL) chair Brian Cooper during the BFL breakout session at Gathering 2014.
The survey distributed by the BFL to pastors regarding the Confession of Faith, however, showed our breathing is still regular where the Confession is concerned; there is no need for an entire overhaul. Respondents generally affirmed the Confession and indicated some 90 percent use it as a ministry tool.
Cooper and Bill Hogg also briefly explained the board’s three main considerations when they planned last fall’s study conference on human sexuality (orient ourselves to the realities of the current Canadian social landscape, review the biblical understanding of human sexuality, hint at a pastoral response) and then summarized some constituent responses they received.
The conference did focus on the issue of homosexuality; however, the elephant in the room is not same-sex relations, said Cooper, but marital fidelity, cohabitation, premarital sex and pornography.
In the past, “we’ve focused on identifying sin rather than restoring people who have been in sin,” said Cooper. “We want our emphasis to be on the latter.”
“We’re not just wrestling with ideas,” said Hogg, but “human brokenness. And each one of us is broken, messed up and in need of healing and
Delegates thanked the BFL for their work, but many raised concerns about the scope of topic around sexuality recognized at the study conference, calling particularly for useful resources to shape healthy sexuality in children.
Other issues on the BFL horizon include cultivating more harmony around pastoral credentialing processes between provinces, human rights legislation, and the next human sexuality study conference in Winnipeg in 2015.
Following Friday’s elections at Gathering 2014, Ingrid Reichard stepped into the role of vice-chair. Some provincial representatives were pending appointment at press time, and two member-at-large positions are unfilled.
For more Gathering 2014 stories, photos, videos and blogs, see reports in this issue
Editorial: Gathering top four
AND blogs on the 2014 Gathering website