Where’s the conversation?

Elvis asked for a “little less conversation, a little more action please.”

The moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Rev. Joan S. Gray, asks “Where is the conversation?” Quoting:

The Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church presented seven recommendations to the 217th General Assembly last summer. Recommendation number two commends to the church-at-large the process the task force used to conduct its work. This process involves bringing together a group of people with different theological views and engaging in a committed program of worship, study, honest conversation, and prayer.

In essence, this is a process of exploring how to be the church with those who disagree with us.

My disappointment is that I have not found many presbyteries or churches where groups are meeting to do this kind of work. In fact, the attitude generally seems to be, “What good does it do? It won’t solve our issues.”

The way we live together as Christians is part of our witness to the watching world. It is a powerful witness to God’s power when the Holy Spirit enables human beings to come together in love in spite of their differences.

One of the most spiritually enriching experiences of my life was participating in a common-ground group for four years with fellow members of my presbytery who had greatly differing opinions on denominational issues. When this group came to an end, I am sure that no one had fundamentally changed his or her position on controversial issues. What had changed, though, was our relationship. Respect and Christian affection had replaced suspicion and wariness.

Emphasis added.

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