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Last month I told you how excited I was to be attending our Disciples’ General Assembly, and this month I’m here to tell you that it didn’t disappoint! It was good to catch up with colleagues and friends, to bear witness to our history-making election of Rev. Terri Hord Owens as our next General Minister and President, and to do the work of the church in study, business, worship, and play. Yet alongside all of the joy, excitement, and camaraderie, I was also prepared for the tension that comes with being part of a church that is allowed to have its own opinions. I was expecting some serious – even passionate – debate over the resolutions brought before the assembly … only to be surprised at how easily we passed a few business items that should have been at least a little bit controversial. After having sat through a very tense and divisive vote on a resolution condemning the invasion of Iraq at 2007 Assembly in Forth Worth, this year’s gathering was a piece of cake! And that has left me thinking – are we Disciples becoming a people that can’t talk to one another anymore? We already see this in our society today. For some, if a person doesn’t share their own political affiliations and social values, then that person isn’t worth talking with – at least not with civility and respect. Is that what I was seeing in Indianapolis – that one group of opinions didn’t show up? Or at the least, some people felt that they couldn’t speak up? I can’t answer those questions with any certainty, but seeing how divided we are as a society, it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that the church has become divided to the point of not talking, too.
But before you get the impression that I’m going to bore you with a lot of talk about the denomination, I want to bring this conversation back home. How are we doing as First Christian Church? Can we still talk with one another when we disagree? Can we still work together when we have a different vision for our future? I’ll confess – I feel the need to ask because I’m one of those people who has some pretty wild ideas about how a 21st century church might look and feel, and I’d like to talk about them. Together. As a church! But for that to happen, we have to first be able to hear each other out regardless of how different our ideas, desires, and dreams may be. In fact, one of my wild ideas is that the church can and should be a place where we come together not in spite of differences, but because of our differences – to learn together, to grow together, and to be faithful together. Maybe now my title makes sense: walking our walk IS talking our talk!
So maybe we can start with that proposition. You’ve hopefully already seen the invitation to the upcoming Pastor’s Cabinet Experiment scheduled for Tuesday, August 15th at 6:30 PM. I know this type of gathering isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly one place we can start. We’ve got so much to talk about, because I know God has so much in store for us. I’m excited to start dreaming up those next steps in our journey as church, and I hope you are, too!
Your partner in conversation,
Christian Church of Bremerton is a diverse group of people seeking to
respond to the vision of God's purpose revealed through Jesus the
We believe this vision calls us to be an intentional community, which engages persons in Christian practices. These practices include the Lord's Supper, joyful worship, Bible Study, prayer, service, and inclusive hospitality. We anticipate being open to all people, discerning how we can respond to needs within and beyond our congregation. As a community we will listen to and bear one another's burdens, and work on behalf of justice for all God's people.
To embrace and manifest Christ-like relationships in our community, we desire to communicate Jesus' death on the cross and bear witness to His resurrection as a sign of hope in this world. We seek to realize this hope by finding ways to overcome the forces that degrade, enslave and oppress God's creation.
In this vision we seek to know, to discern, and to act on the Holy Spirit's guidance to become an expression of God's new creation through our personal gifts and resources. In our actions we strive "to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God." (Micah 6:8c)
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