Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bad gardening advice

I’ve been musing privately, with my friends and colleagues that, the resolution on blessing same-sex unions before our National Convention may compel some of the more extremist elements within our denomination to leave.

But I wonder if many good people of conscience on both sides of this issue would also feel obliged to leave – no matter the outcome.

The classic conundrum that Jesus outlined in this weeks gospel reading – the parable of the wheat and the tares. Jesus, the crappy gardener tells us to let the weeds and the wheat grow together because you might pull out some good plants while trying to get rid of those pesky weeds.

“Stick to carpentry, Jesus,” they must have thought, “you don’t know squat about gardening.”

Terrible gardening advice. Wise words when dealing with people.

So how do we live with the weeds that threaten to take over and compromise the purity of the soil? In our circumstance, how do we deal with divisions?

Some of our bishops have asked us to focus on the things that unite us – our common faith in Jesus as the saviour of the world – and to not let our divisions define who we are.

But those on the left say the issue at stake is social justice. For those on the right, it’s biblical authority.

I don’t want to get into which side is right and which side is wrong. They’re both right. They’re both wrong.

Because for me, that’s not the core issue.

The question is: how do we allow wheat and weeds to live together – even flourish – and be okay with that?

How do we live with those who speak a totally different language? How do we allow each other to flourish, knowing that none of us are pure weed and none are pure wheat?

Said another way, “none are righteous, not one. (Rom 3:10)”

Unity is hard work. And it should be. We should be expending as much if not more energy keeping our family of faith together than finding ways to suspend fellowship, seek other church homes, name call, and fight. Unity is not a frill.

Could you imagine what a witness to the world it would be if we Lutherans stayed united in love for each other, love for the gospel, and love of God, even though we have disagreements that run to the very core of who we are as people of God?

That doesn't mean that our disagreements don't matter. They do. A lot.

Jesus died for the ungodly, the impure, the sinner, the enemy. The least we can do is live with each other.


Psychols said...

A great post. The divisions within the church (Anglican, Lutheran and others) speaks to the emotional and moral energy that surrounds the debate on the acceptance of homosexual relationships. If the debate divides us, we will all be losers. It is an issue that I hope will soon be in the past, but harsh words sometimes leads to perpetual animosity.

Steve Bogner said...

Putting the need for unity above the needs for social justice & Biblical authority will be a tough one. Everyone has a different idea of 'what God wants'.

Putting unity first means we put our trust in God that this will lead us to the resolution of what seems like a conflict between justice & authority. We have to admit that our position on the issue might not be the right one, and trust that God will lead us to the answers. That's a big deal for lots of folks.

Mike said...


Again another great post. In addition to what Steve and cycles2k have said, I also think this is an excercise in patience and a test of the basics.

Time heals all wounds, and through unity eventually we will evolve to the answer is best. It is a test of our patience and a test of our hubris - this allows people to question themselves as to whether they can really know the mind of God.

Again, wonderful post