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Sunday, July 06, 2008

gracious witness resolution, pt. 3

This is my 60 second testimony on the plenary floor in favor of the gracious witness resolution (04-28).

This resolution urges presbyteries to communicate and implement a gracious and pastoral process in use with churches seeking dismissal from the denomination. This resolution also explicitly urges a move away from litigation to address this situation.

But to the deeper point, let me say that the deep dream of this resolution is not that it simply be mailed, but that the whole Assembly consider it as an opportunity to signal to the whole church and WITNESS to the watching world that we are more interested in shepherding the sheep with grace than through litigation. We are more interested in caring for ALL involved in church conflict through gracious dismissal and helpful re-location than in any legal or material focus. Earlier tonight, I said that there was a better way for the church than litigation, and I believe this resolution points us toward that better way.

This resolution calls on presbyteries, to whom belongs the responsibility of dismissal, to be the initiators of GRACE. And beloved, grace is both unconditional and winsome. The resolution points us to the appropriate resources, but for this resolution to make any real difference, YOU will need to catch the spirit behind it and communicate it back to your presbytery and to your own church. Beloved, there is a better way! I ask you to vote yes not just to approve some words, but to embrace and carry home what I believe to be the wind of the Holy Spirit.

See also the text, rationale, and presentations of the "gracious witness resolution" in committee, against 03-21 (legal fund), and speaking for 04-28 (this post).

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