This article was originally published by The Mennonite

A church known for grace, love, forbearance

What if a significant number of members of Mennonite Church USA would say we’re sick and tired of being part of a denomination racked by conflict over same-sex issues?

No, we’re not leaving, but we want to be part of a different kind of church—a church not shaped by the culture wars.

What if we refuse to follow the old Mennonite impulse of splintering to keep the peace, and we also refuse to adopt political means of remaking the church the way we think it should be?

Rather, we want to be part of a church truly known for grace, love and forbearance—all three.

What if we want to be part of a church known for what binds us together instead of what divides us? We want to put Jesus the Christ at the center of our corporate life and play down the separate “parties” to which we tend to gravitate?

What if we were to humbly confess that this church isn’t our church; it belongs to Christ?

We want to prayerfully commit ourselves to the leading of the Spirit to make us into the kind of church the Spirit wills, not what we want.

That is a leap of faith and we have no idea where we all will land.

And what if we would have a critical mass of people who would commit to such a vision for the church, people who come from all across the spectrum on same-sex matters and other issues that tend to divide us?

Richard A. Kauffman is book review editor for the Christian Century magazine and member of College Mennonite Church in Goshen, Ind.

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