Gay Marriage, World Vision and a Unified Church?

1375245_10152323713434676_205055056_nIt has been a tough go for the Church in the United States over the past couple months. The name calling, division and posturing reached a deafening volume last week in the wake of the World Vision controversy around employing those in gay marriage. 

Noise. 

Massive amounts of energy poured into proving our “rightness” and your “wrongness.”

Relationships severed. Most without ever having created the space to share a meal and simply listen to one another.

Social media. Interviews. Articles. Press releases.  

Noise. 

There have been so many chiming in on this thing that I saw no need to jump in and, well, to be honest, I’ve just been sad. Sad at the failed state of discourse within the Church. Sad at the demonization. Sad that hungry kids across the world were losing their access to basic needs to live as a result of our inability to live, love and lead…together. 

I’m not against heathy dialog, disagreement or even conflict (if dealt with transformatively rather than violently…and violence takes many more forms than bloodshed). I’m actually quite for it and have given my life to training the Church for the work of conflict transformation. 

The mission of God is reconciliation and the vocation of God’s people, the Church. When we spend more time attacking each other rather than attacking the areas of brokenness in our world, we become a reflection of anti-kingdom. 

Anti-Jesus. 

Anti-Missio Dei.

How we live as the Church is a direct reflection of who we follow. 

But then something happened.

Our little faith community, which gathers for worship around our table and in our living room, has been walking with leaders from churches all over our city. Last night, we invited them to come worship with us.

What did that look like?

It looked like sharing a long meal around one table where we told stories of pain and stories of hope. We laughed, we held each others children and we washed dishes…together. 

It looked like spending time in silence reflecting on our own brokenness and seeking forgiveness.

It looked like reading the Scriptures and encountering a Jesus who when tempted with power and prestige, chose humility and self-sacrifice. 

It looked like praying in one voice for the good of our neighborhoods and city. 

And how did it end?  

By going around the room and blessing each other to live more fully into our identity as sons and daughters of the Father. To go forth and extend a message of reconciliation, first in ourselves, and then to a world in need of wrong things being made right. 

In a Church that is enduring so much division, these experiences of unity can seem radical and prophetic. While they may be prophetic, I don’t think they are all that radical. No, this is actually how the body of Christ is designed to function. It is not a new thing, it is simply a return to our identity. 

All that to say, I’m not feeling as sad. 

At least for today, I’m reminded that we are part of one much bigger Story that doesn’t end with us and our broken tendencies toward in-fighting. It is a Story of reconciliation that was set forth in Jesus and won’t end until all is restored.  

Thank God.  

The Church may be going through a rough patch, maybe even an identity crisis, but I still believe it is intended to be God’s primary instrument of peace in the world. The road to reconciliation isn’t easy, and at times it feels far too slow, but as we all submit to the self-sacrificing ways of Jesus, I’m more certain than ever it is the road we are stumbling down. 

The time in my living room may have only been a mustard seed of hope, but we all know about mustard seeds.

Here’s to a new season submitted to Jesus and joining, TOGETHER, in the world God is making.

—–

Here’s a list of other bloggers contributing posts related to healing the divides this month:

37 Responses to Gay Marriage, World Vision and a Unified Church?
  1. Mike Slusher

    Jon,
    What are you trying to say?
    World Vision made a decision regarding non-biblical behavior and said it was fine to accept that behavior. People reacted and said they did not want to be a part of that decision.
    Of course it was emotional, basic Christian beliefs were assaulted.
    The mission of God is reconciliation…reconciliation of the world with himself. That reconciliation then is supposed to lead to living a life that glorifies God through living a righteous and holy life.
    We speak of that reconciliation and live it and testify to it but we do not live as the world lives.
    Jesus ate, drank and spent his time with sinners but he did not accept their lifestyle. He offered forgiveness and told them to go and sin no more.
    How is the church supposed to be different from the world if we accept worldly standards and say it’s OK to live as the world lives?

  2. Alice Smith

    While I affirm your message, I am saddened by the use of the word “noise”. I understand what you intended, but it had the effect of dismissing the heart-felt (if imperfect) voices that were engaged- yes, including on social media. Sure, it gave the added effect of your story a sense of depth and meaning, but I wish it had not come at the expense of minimizing the voices of others (even though that was not your intent).

  3. [...] a recent post, Jon Huckins writes, “I’m not against healthy dialog, disagreement or even confli... keepingfaithtoday.com/2014/04/02/how-to-claim-jesus-today
  4. Jon Huckins

    Alice, thanks for your comment. As it seems you picked up on, my use of “noise” was in reference to the hateful, combative and divisive posture taken by many communicating about this event. I completely agree that there were beautiful, prophetic and necessary things being said amid the “noise” I speak of.

  5. Jon Huckins

    Mike, I’m afraid you completely missed the heart and point of this post. To answer your initial question, I’m seeking to elevate the conversation to the point where we see the WAY in which we communicate as equal importance to WHAT we communicate. There is no place for combative, hateful and divisive in-fighting within the church. We must learn to disagree without dehumanizing. There is a better way forward and I hope my story, although small, illustrates one such way. Grace and peace, Mike. jon

  6. [...] Loved this article from friend Jon Huckins.  There was a LOT of stuff out there about the whole World V... notesfromthemessybeautiful.com/2014/04/the-one-with-all-the-links-vol-4
  7. Juliet

    We may not all agree right now on what is acceptable and what is not. Perhaps that has always been the case. But we do all know how to behave lovingly and face to face even those who disagree vehemently can often behave lovingly. As you so rightly said, so much of the ‘noise’ was created from a distance. A distance that made it easier for everyone to overlook the fact that they were always addressing Jesus (for whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me).
    Thank you for this gently written, heartfel witness.

  8. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... lifeinthedport.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/playing-in-the-borderlands
  9. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church? [...]... caedmonmichael.net/archives/bridging-the-divides
  10. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... patheos.com/blogs/pilgrimsroadtrip/2014/04/bridging-the-divide
  11. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... tillhecomes.org/unity-vs-uniformity-in-the-church
  12. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... tendingaflame.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/tell-the-truth
  13. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... prayingthegospels.com/healing-divide-begins
  14. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... burningreligion.com/2014/04/23/the-impossible-space-between-us
  15. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... markvotava.com/2014/04/09/faithful-presence-in-the-parish
  16. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... gracerules.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/you-cant-get-there-from-here
  17. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... travisklassen.com/2014/04/22/the-church-coming-going-or-being
  18. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... donewithreligion.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/healing-divisions-in-the-body-of-christ
  19. Liz

    Jon, Thanks for joining the synchroblog. The links are available now to add to the end of your post.

  20. [...] Adel – Emotional Pacifism: Laying Down My Weapons Ty Grigg – Speak Truth Jon Huckins – Gay Mar... simplefelicity.net/are-we-there-yet
  21. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... bronlea.com/2014/04/22/when-my-children-squabble
  22. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... jenbaros.com/howtoheal
  23. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... visionhub.org/the-non-gospelized-rituals-of-pentecostalism.html
  24. Jen Baros (@jenKbaros)

    “How we live as a church is a direct reflection of who we follow.”

    There is so much weight in this statement alone. Truth. Conviction. Hope for each one of us to try again, and be better with one another.

    Thank you!

  25. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... kathyescobar.com/2014/04/22/10-ways-we-can-build-bridges-instead-of-bomb-them
  26. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... godspace-msa.com/2014/04/07/unified-by-love-not-doctrine
  27. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... godsleader.com/healing-divisions-church
  28. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... visionhub.org/bridging-the-divides-and-split-in-the-church.html
  29. [...] Jon Huckins - Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... glennhager.com/2014/04/the-lowest-common-denominator
  30. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... dl-webster.com/truth-is-not-a-process-belief-is
  31. Liz

    Jon, I also read and heard a lot of hateful reactions from Christians to the recent World Vision debachle and it was especially hurtful to me and my family as I have a son who is gay. Thanks for seeking a better way and for being involved in an actual act of reconciliation.

  32. [...] Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?  [...]... carisadel.com/2874/emotional-pacifism
  33. Phil Wyman

    Thanks John, It seems that even when we simply try to state that we are tired of the “noise” (Yes, I like your use of the word), people still want to press for pushing us onto one side of the battlefield or another. Thanks for taking the space between the sides and dancing in it for us.

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