The following are excerpts from a Mennonite World Review article about the recent Mennonite Church USA symposium on homosexuality in Newton, Kansas.
Page 1 begins:
NEWTON, Kan. — Contrasting views on same-sex marriage in the church highlighted a symposium on homosexuality Oct. 25-26.
Western District Conference of Mennonite Church USA, which has seen eight congregations withdraw after a Kansas pastor officiated at the covenant ceremony of a lesbian couple, sponsored the event.
“The Church and Homosexuality: A Conversation That Can Hold Us Together” drew 130 people to Faith Mennonite Church.
The main presenters were Keith Graber Miller, a professor of Bible, religion and philosophy at Goshen (Ind.) College, and David Boshart, executive conference minister of MC USA’s Central Plains Conference. Both are ordained pastors.
Boshart advocated welcoming gay and lesbian people in the church while not supporting same-sex marriage as a ministry of the church.
Graber Miller argued that same-sex relationships can be loving, pure, just and fruitful and that the church should bless and honor them…
-page 1, MC USA district airs contrasting viewpoints during homosexuality symposium
Page 3 continues:
Graber Miller said there is no evidence that the biblical writers knew of genuine same-sex orientation. He said they condemned abusive acts but did not address loving relationships.
“Seven passages, including about 50 verses in the Old and New Testaments combined, deal with this issue, and in every case the context suggests idolatry, violent rape, lust, unnatural behaviors or exploitation,” he said.
“I believe the biblical passages dealing with same-sex sexuality are addressing something other than the loving, community-affirmed, covenant same-sex relationships we know today.”
The church has long acknowledged the reality of same-sex orientation, he said.
“Would it not be good to channel those orientations into loving, God-blessed commitments marked by monogamy and fidelity, supported and held accountable by bodies of believers?” he asked. “That would allow for sustainable, life-giving commitments in a way that hiddenness, denial and denunciation do not.”
Graber Miller called for MC USA and its conferences to allow congregations to dissent from the denomination’s stance on homosexual practice — an issue that he said is not at the core of Christian faith nor central to the Anabaptist tradition.
“I’m asking that conferences allow those congregations and their leaders who painstakingly and faithfully come to views divergent from what is considered the norm — divergences rooted in communal congregational discernment of Scripture with the guidance of the Holy Spirit — to be allowed to coexist alongside those with other views,” he said.
-page 3, MC USA district airs contrasting viewpoints during homosexuality symposium
Canadian MB conference begins a discussion of sexuality
Canadian Conference of MB Churches http://www.mennoworld.org/2013/11/11/discussion-begins-canadian-mb-church/
The Conversation Has Begun https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/the-conversation-has-begun/