The Annual Conference Special Response Resource Committee has just posted their study resources for conversations about sexuality in the church. They close their curriculum (a series of 8 sessions of biblical study and conversation on the two Annual Conference queries from 2009) with the encouragement to “continue to seek out respectful dialogue with others throughout our denomination.” This space has become a place for conversation and respectful dialogue on many other questions facing the church, and I’m curious if we can take advantage of it to share and seek the Spirit amongst ourselves on these questions.

Talking about divisive questions online is different than talking about them in a Sunday school classroom or Wednesday night bible study. We can’t see each others’ faces or interpret one another’s body language. Still, for many of us who find this place a consistent spot for connecting and discussing, conversation yields great fruit. So, I share here the covenant proposed in the study resources:

As a person of faith, sincere in my commitment to heal and care for the body of Christ, I covenant with this group:
…to respect the dignity and intrinsic worth of each participant.
…to honor moments of tension between us as opportunities for the Spirit to teach and lead.
…to be open to the varied insights emerging from our shared study of scripture.
…to be honest about my own doubts and fears.
…to listen carefully, speak gently, and prayerfully consider perspectives that are different from my own.
…to begin from a place of trust that God will be present with us in this process.

With those commitments in mind, what do you make of the study resources? Will you use them in your congregation? Will you study them yourself? Have you done any discernment of this sort before? Where is the Spirit leading us?