Effort to connect is rewarded
Re “The blood of Christ saves, not bloodline” (Letters, May/June 2016).
I am sorry you have had such a negative experience in trying to find a church home.
Though my husband and I are not from a Mennonite background, we have been fully welcomed, for 8 years now, into the Mennonite Brethren church in the village of Linden, Alta. While one’s “genetics” are of conversational interest, I am not aware of anyone being turned down from involvement in the activities of the church because of them.
God provides connections within our church family and new relationships blossom! Care groups and care ministries are great places to begin to know people.
I can say from experience that being a greeter tops the list for connecting! I have yet to have anyone refuse to accept at least my handshake – and quite often enjoy a hug. In a new setting, it is not uncommon for the seeker to have to make the first move and let their needs be known. God will reward your efforts.
Orientation is not chosen
Although there is much to be commended in Willy Reimer’s article, “God, Sex, Me and You” (Features, July/August 2016), it loses some credibility because of one common misconception: “Our current issue is defining ourselves by a sexual or gender orientation of our own choosing.”
Sexual orientation is a cognitive state with which we are born, which in some cases does not correspond to our sexual identity. There are several mechanisms in fetal development which account for this outcome, such as a mismatch in testosterone levels in the first third and second half of a pregnancy. In very few cases does choice have anything to do with sexual orientation.
However, as Reimer says, there is no “us” and “them.” All individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, can find their completeness in Jesus Christ.
Love the sinner, decry the sin
@AskDrBrown’s Facebook post resonates with me: “Today, holding to biblical convictions is called discrimination and staying true to God brings recrimination and intimidation. So be it. Jesus is Lord. We will only bow down to him.”
Unfortunately, those recriminations are not only from outside the church, but from within.
One example is Tom Friesen’s letter (“MB church is not safe,” July/August). Friesen is disappointed the study conference on sexuality did not result in a change of MB theology. Unless we are convinced God changed or we misread the Bible, we should not change our theology.
Tom Friesen is pained that “the MB church was not a safe environment for youth to come out.” A big lie of our day is that one cannot disagree with an action without also hating the person who engages in it.
I have family and friends whom I love dearly who identify as gay. I am sympathetic about hurtful things they have experienced, and I pray with them. But I don’t change my view about what the Bible says.
Jesus was called a friend of sinners, and it was not a compliment. He loved sinners without approving of their sin. We can and should do the same.
A word of encouragement
Having grown up and come to faith within the Mennonite Brethren fold, I would like to write a word of encouragement to my MB sisters and brothers in Christ.
I see across the various articles, letters, comments and editorial stance a real desire to listen more to one another, to the cultures where missions have been established and to Christ.
I also notice tensions about how to abstain from making our culture a barrier to Christians and seekers from other cultures, and tensions about how to approach the polarizing question of human sexuality.
If I might make a suggestion, “Naked Anabaptists” (Wiebe’s Witness, October 2015) offers a model. When David Wiebe asks his Japanese counterpart what he thought of public baths, Wiebe comes away with new insight into the Japanese community, church and culture.
Why not ask gay Christians and others in the gay community how they experience our loving call to celibacy and our discourse about what they need to do to be saved? Why not practise prayerful listening?
I will be following this dialogue in the Herald and praying that as fellow Christians we can all listen to one another with the ears of Jesus.
CO story important to remember
Thanks for your review of The Last Objectors. On my mom’s side of the family, the issue was contentious during the days of the Revolution in Russia. For my dad and his brothers, they saw military service as a ‘reasonable service’ by which they could repay their gratitude to Canada for taking in their family as penniless refugees from starving Russia. While one brother stayed home on the farm during the war, the others joined up; my grandmother displayed the photos of all her sons in identical frames.
New Westminster, B.C.
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