Have the Same Mind

I want to use this space to reflect on my sermon from January 22, 2023.  The text from 1 Corinthians 1.10-18 gives some helpful guidance how to live in harmony with one another.

1 Corinthians 1.10 (NLT)
I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

I believe there are no two people on the planet who agree on everything, even on the things that matter, let alone an entire church or denomination. I don't think that's what Paul is talking about here. I think he's talking about going in the same direction, having the same purpose and mission.

I was struck by a verse later in this passage, where Paul asked, "Has Christ been divided?"

Back then, the church was one as it began to spread. 2,000 years later, as we've spread, there have been many divisions. Our own  tradition has had its challenges. In fact, we are in such a time now. As you may know, some churches are disaffiliating from the UMC. It can seem like a lot, but "Christianity Today" reported  that it's only about 6% of churches, so far, and most of those are the South. There will be more, but it's still estimated to be around 15%.

There are some in our Conference, and in our local area, but many are waiting for General Conference in 2024. Basically, we will know more then; everything is speculation now. This battle is over the church's disagreement over human sexuality.

In the meantime, a leader from Conference is coming to share information with the Ad Board on Feb. 5. Ad Board will determine the best course of action to take at that time.

I appeal to you … to keep this in prayer. Please do your best to "live at peace with all people" (Romans 12.18). And follow  the Golden Rule: "Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you" (Jesus, Luke 6.31).

As we move forward, please be aware that not everyone will agree on the theology surrounding human sexuality. Please be kind and play well together.

I am hopeful that we can do this well, that we can do our due diligence, and that we won't make rash decisions. I have long said that I think God is interested not only in WHAT we decide, but also in HOW we decide. Let us "do no harm" as we seek to "live in harmony!" Amen.
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