Keynote Address by Henry Brinton at the Baltimore/DC Regional Conference, March 9, 2013: “I believe that all of you want to be part of a truly welcoming congregation, one that embraces all people with God’s love and grace. But if you are like me, you haven’t mastered the practices of Christian hospitality. You probably set up some barriers to inclusion without even knowing it.”
At the Kansas City Regional Conference, Dr. Mark Achtemeier continued his exploration of biblical insights into marriage: “…We have now come to the end of our experiment in reading the Scripture like the faithful scribe in Jesus’ teaching. We have taken what is old – the testimony about God’s purposes for love and marriage and sexuality that comes to us from the broad sweep of the Bible’s story. We have brought out this old, time-tested wisdom and combined it with what is new: the recently emerging opportunity for gay and lesbian people to openly makes vows and commitments to one another in the covenant of marriage.
The result of this combination of old and new is not the abolition of biblical sexual morality or the abandonment of Scripture’s teaching. The result is the right and proper extension of the Bible’s time-honored teachings on love and sex and marriage into these new relationships where it manifestly belongs…”
Dr. Mark Achtemeier addressed the Twin Cities Regional Conference on same-gender marriage: “…The vocation of groups like the Covenant Network will be critically important in the months and years ahead. It is not within our power to turn back the rising tide of cultural and historical forces that are sweeping our church into a period of decline. But we are confident that the day will come when God will purge the poisonous legacy of exclusion and hatefulness from our culture’s image of Christianity. Until that time it falls to you and me to keep the lights of a gracious witness burning in the midst of the surrounding darkness.
To carry out that task, to make that positive Christian witness, you and I must be absolutely clear that our affirmation and celebration of gay marriage is a consequence of the Bible’s testimony and not its contradiction…”
God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality, by Jay Michaelson. Beacon Press, 2011.
A Book Recommendation from Tricia Dykers Koenig
A reflection by Laurie Kraus: “…Our families are not all the same: the children we treasure have come to us from birth, surrogacy, national and international adoption, or foster care; and we connect with friend or partner or spouse in a variety of ways. One thing I believe is common among us: that we all are formed in our relationships by Love, which comes from God; and that we all of us, are made truly in God’s image and living a life of faith intended to let that God-image shine forth more clearly. We listen to one another, share our stories and practice community together because it is the way Christ has taught us to see the face of God…”
An essay by Kenneth E. Kovacs: “…reality is infinitely more complicated and complex than fundamentalists will acknowledge, actually more than they are free to admit. Fundamentalism, especially the religious variety, is the very opposite of freedom. It’s a form of bondage…”