These videos are an invitation to a discussion. In the background is the Human Sexuality Report of the CRCNA. We are afraid that the debate over the report can overshadow the urgent need for church communities to engage in transformative practices that help all God’s people flourish. At one point in a discussion with the leaders of the covenant people, Jesus said about them “they tie up heavy burden, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.” Whatever the debate about what is right and wrong, we know that there are many practices that could be the fingers that lift the heavy burdens many bear. We focus on 6 words: prejudice, shame, loneliness, desire, idolatry, and hospitality. Each word tells of burdens. Each word invites a discussion. Each word encourages us to engage practices which allow all to flourish.
We all live amid the unwritten hopes and dreams of community life. Many of them involve human sexuality. They are subtly communicated but heard loudly. Hopes for marriage. Fears for divorce. Anxiety for the LGBTQ. And along with the hopes and fears comes words of judgment, bullying and exclusions. Not to mention the ever-present pornography. And let’s face it: parents aren’t good at sex talks. All this conspires to create a community culture around sexuality. The six words become part of ordinary experience: prejudice, shame, loneliness, desire, idolatry, and hospitality. How we deal with them shapes lives. If we want to do better for our communities, reflecting the presence of Christ in this world, we need to do better in our embodied community life.
So, these videos are an invitation to discussion and engagement. We journey together. We don’t think the same or even agree on the best practices for ministry. But we can hold onto each other in the hope that together we can do better, lift burdens, open doors to each other’s flourishing as a pilgrim people learning and growing in the grace of our Lord.
Leading a discussion on sensitive topics is always a challenge. Lurking underneath the conversation is our own vulnerability: each of us carries prejudice, shame, loneliness, desire, idolatries, and fear of hospitality. We have our comfortable spots. We carry our anxieties around our sexuality. Leading a conversation requires some rules of engagement. Here are some that help:
Video 1: Introduction to the 6 words
Video 2: Prejudice
Video 3: Loneliness
Video 4: Shame
Video 5: Desire
Video 6: Idolatry
Video 7: Hospitality
We would love your feedback. Send us a note afterwards so that we can learn from you. We want to improve these conversations. We want these conversations to bless the church as we together seek to be the presence of Christ in this world and seek to faithfully walk with Christ.
Peter Rockhold: firstname.lastname@example.org
Neil de Koning: email@example.com