Building Gracious Space in the PCUSA: Getting to Wonder

As presbyteries continue to discuss marriage and Amendment 14F, the outline of God’s will for us together as church in the 21st century begins to take shape.

I previously wrote about the experience of meeting with Marc Benton and the lessons forgiveness, and weeping, can teach us about building a gracious space.

In the weeks since, I felt called to return to that moment to explore more deeply the holy ground we encountered. In the latest installment of my series on building gracious space in the PCUSA, I offer my reflections on another way forward. An excerpt of the piece, the entirety of which is on More Light Presbyterian’s website, can be found below:

I was saying something, I think, when he literally lifted out of his couch and exclaimed something like, “What you are talking about is ‘fusion of horizons.’ I learned about it from a Palestinian professor who was virulently against the Jews but came to see how the very words each group used for the same event were different. Their horizons were different, limited by their experience of the same happening. Grasping that the moment, itself, is larger than each of our experiences—a fusion of horizons–can hold us together.”

I tell you the room sparkled with excitement at this recognition. I might not have used his words but I cherish exactly what he was describing and yearn desperately for it in the church. We were suddenly on holy ground. Our conversation had become sacred. Wow. We had gotten to wonder.

You can read the full piece here. This vision of fused horizons shed new light for me on the Presbyterian tradition of freedom of conscience and how it holds us together. Passed down from our ancestors, the concept still lives and breathes today, all the more relevant as we discern the question of marriage.

I offer the image in the hopes that it might guide your own thinking. Does it prove useful to you? What other way forward do you see to bring the disparate edges of our church together on the issue of marriage? I look forward to reading your comments below.

I encourage you also to read the rest of my series on building a gracious space in the PCUSA:

On Kindness

On Weeping

On Forgiveness

On Shared Feelings

Photo Credit: Krug6 via Compfight cc

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