Hi Peter, just a note to say I've just witnessed something pretty life-changing today. It makes me wish I was at a point of writing more publicly about these kinds of things or at least discussing them with my friends and family on the right, but this kind of experience is moving me rapidly in that direction.
My Methodist church came together for a special vote today, after months of reflection, on whether to conduct same-sex marriages, despite all the risks under UMC governance. I was inspired by the attitude shown by the time of worship leading up to the vote with so many older, conservative-looking members singing their hearts out, and hearing the arguments in favor from a diverse cross-section of the congregation. The vote for marriage equality passed overwhelmingly, and I've never heard a little old church lady whoop for joy like the one sitting next to me.
This doesn't diminish the sorrow I feel for the divisions in our denominations, or how so many people (like me until recently) feel threatened by change. But seeing a congregation unify to take on these challenges with joy and faith gives me a lot of hope that dissent in the church can be an act of purposeful love rather than power politics.
Beautifully said. "Dissent in the church can be an act of purposeful love, rather than power politics." I hope we can better learn the purposeful power of dissenting love.