Building Gracious Space in the PCUSA: Shared Feelings

The Presbyterian Church (USA) faces difficult discussions ahead. Marriage is once again being is debated and discussed in presbyteries across the country as we consider recommendations from the 221st General Assembly, in particular, recommendation 14F. My thoughts turn to what it will take to inspire gracious, productive conversations about marriage in our church. For me, it starts with shared feelings, a topic I recently wrote about for a post on More Light Presbyterians’ website.

Below is an excerpt from the piece. You can read the full post on MLP’s website.

As befits our “presbyterian church,” politics is, in many ways, our spirituality. The coming voting season is a test: are we ready to be the church of Jesus Christ? Can we listen prayerfully to every speaker? Can we choose not to fight among ourselves any more? Can we create together common ground, not so much as compromise, rather, as something else, something new, something that will blossom as the Body of Christ into the future God has in store for us?

I’ll be sharing more thoughts on this topic in the future, but I want to know: where do you see opportunities to build a gracious space in your church? How important are shared feelings to bridging the divide between us? I look forward to reading your comments below.

3 Responses
  • Loraine Hutchins on October 22, 2014

    It is so clear to me that Christ’s love encompasses everyone of us just the way we are, right now; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, pansexual, polysexual, intersex, asexual, heterosexual, any kind of sexual, we’re blessedly beautiful alive and that is beautiful. Christ didn’t make distinctions in love, why should we?

  • Janet Edwards on October 28, 2014

    Dear Loraine,

    In answer to your question: No reason why we can make any distinctions in love when we follow Jesus.

    What we seem to be doing in the PCUSA is catching up with Jesus with regard to His love for all.

    Thanks for your testimony and clear call! Peace, Janet

  • Donna on November 1, 2014


    As I am reading through “Life Together” by Deitrich Bonhoeffer, I am compelled to offer as a subject of conversation his notion of Christian community: that it is nothing in us that creates it, only Christ.

    In particular, I offer:

    “What persons are in themselves as Christians, in their inwardness and piety, cannot constitute the basis of our community, which is determined by those persons are in terms of Christ. Our community conisists solely in what Christ has done to both of us…” Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, p 26.

    Here’s hoping the best for the PC(USA).


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