Our church has recently begun the process of becoming an Opening and Affirming (ONA) church. Basically that means that our church will make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.
In a small town that is historically on the more conservative end of the spectrum, this move is quite controversial. It has caused a quiet uproar in the congregation, ironically those taking the most offense to the prospect are the slightly younger generation. Those more in the 40-60 year old demographic. This of course is based solely on my observation of the survey results and rumblings I have heard. Interestingly, the older population of the congregation seems more open minded to the prospect.
This isn’t really running related, but it has been something that runs through my brain while running. I find myself thinking about things I would like to write about (whether it be my great american novel or things I would like to say if ever given the chance to speak on a topic)-this topic of ONA and what it means to me runs through my brain.
For some reason I still struggle to properly explain how I feel or how to frame it in the constructs of the church. I think it’s because I’m not a biblical scholar. The concept of “Love the sinner, hate the sin” has caused me to be a bit defensive towards the teachings of the church. It has only been recently that I realized that turn of phrase did not come from the Bible, in fact it came from St. Augustine in a letter written to a convent on the proper behavior that should be exhibited by nuns. The phrase, which originates in Latin was actually “With love for mankind and hatred of sins”, was paraphrased by Gandhi in his auto-biography to the popularly quoted phrase.
While this discovery hasn’t helped my process of explaining why a welcome statement isn’t enough for those of who have felt ostracized and ridiculed, it has helped me realize that God isn’t so bi-polar perhaps just the people who misuse the quote are. I’m sure that the thoughts will continue to plague my mind as I run, I am hopes that I will be able to more clearly define my thesis or premise so that I will be more articulate in my explanation. I feel that “Because it’s the right thing to do and Jesus said to love one another” just doesn’t seem to be enough of a reason, though it really should be if one truly does follow the teachings as presented in the Bible.
What kinds of thoughts ramble through your brain while you go on long runs? Or do you try to clear them out all together?
Happy Thoughtful Running!