I spent time today looking at the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) website… (my own denomination once held talks with this group about what they had in common). While the Disciples are often described as “liberal” (probably because of their emphasis on justice), I think their stance is still rather evangelical. It is their openness and inclusiveness that really attracts me. While LGBT persons do not yet have full recognition within this group, they are probably among the most inclusive of any denomination.

 

 I love their “principles of identity” statement that they are working on. Here it is with some commentary:

 

1. We confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and proclaim him Lord and Savior of the world, requiring nothing more – and nothing less – as a basis of our life together.

 

Nothing more, and nothing less, than Jesus. That would include no judgment, no rules, no expectations, other than mutual faith in Him. I can go along with that.

2. We hold the centrality of scripture, recognizing that each person has the freedom – and the responsibility – to study God’s Word within the community of the church.

Freedom! Yes, a church that offers me freedom to study God’s Word. That implies that no one is going to tell me how to interpret it, as long as we do it together.

 

3. We practice the baptism of believers, which emphasizes that God’s grace demands a response of faith and discipleship, while also recognizing the baptism performed in other churches.

4. We gather for the Lord’s Supper, as often as possible, experiencing at this table the gracious, forgiving presence of Jesus Christ.

 

Recognizing… “other churches”! Declaring an open table! And here, accountability rather than authority:

5. We structure our community around the biblical idea of covenant, emphasizing not obedience to human authority but accountability to one another because of our shared obedience to Christ.

6. We participate in God’s mission for the world, working with partners to heal the brokenness of creation and bring justice and peace to the whole human family.

7. We hear a special calling to make visible the unity of all Christians, proclaiming that in our diversity we belong to one another because we commonly belong to Christ.

Justice… peace… diversity…

Sounds like the Kingdom of God:

 

8. We witness to the Gospel of God’s saving love for the world in Jesus Christ, while continuing to struggle with how God’s love may be known to others in different ways.

9. We affirm the priesthood of all believers, rejoicing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit – which include the gift of leadership – that God has given for the common good.

10. We celebrate the diversity of our common life, affirming our different histories, styles of worship, and forms of service.

11. We give thanks that each congregation, where Christ is present through faith, is truly the church, affirming as well that God’s church and God’s mission stretch from our doorsteps to the ends of the earth.

12. We anticipate God’s coming reign, seeking to serve the God – Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer – whose loving dominion has no end.

 

These are lofty principles the Disciples have set for themselves. As keltic, who I believe is a part of the Disciples, has experienced, there is still a long way to go for total acceptance of us LGBT folk. But at least the door is open and the conversation has begun on the basis of common faith in a risen Lord.

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