Being the body of Christ is a complicated thing sometimes. We have choices to make, issues to navigate, denominations and factions to wade through. Granted, we can choose to bury our heads in the ground beneath our particular brand of pew, which has become the sad decision of far too many followers of Christ. In my own life, I believe that would be an irresponsible brand of discipleship.
Green Mountain Falls is not exempt from the complications of being the body. For the coming year, they have hired an intern. She comes to us from a seminary in Denver. She’s also a homosexual.
Now, the church in Green Mountain Falls is connected to a denomination that openly ordains practicing homosexuals, and I knew that. I had chosen to stay because I trust the Pastor and because I don’t want to run from a local body in the name of boycotting its mother denomination. I had chosen to stay even when I first saw the woman come to visit the congregation, because I believe that the church is a place where all should feel welcome to walk in.
But now what? Suddenly I face a situation that is no longer a matter of sharing the pew with someone whose lifestyle I disagree with, or of choosing not to judge a small town church by its big city denominational lines. Now it involves things like sitting under her teaching. While I was away in Montana, the church had a meeting, and I returned to a sanctuary sans many familiar faces. Their decision of discipleship called them away from Green Mountain Falls in the face of what they deem to be unacceptable compromise.
I may catch some flak for this, but I’m not leaving yet. Sure, I’m full of a lot of questions. I do not hesitate to say that I disagree completely with the ordination of homosexuals. Still, I also disagree with division and hatred and fear. Where is the line between these things and discernment? I don’t know. But I believe the matter deserves some wrestling with, and that being the body requires me to think deeply when considering walking away from the people who fill those pews.
As I wrestle in the months to come, I’ll still be here with the stories of a church that will not cease to be beautiful and endearing. The children’s sermons will still provide moments of hilarity, and the pews will be full of wonderful characters. There will be cake to go with the coffee, and the conversations will be memorable.
And me? I’ll be right there too, thinking and praying through all it might mean, this complicated thing called being the body of Christ.