Advent Newsletter Excerpt | Grace & Truth

Written by Pastor Steve Berkenpas, Lead Pastor

A couple of years ago we did listening circles centered around the Human Sexuality Report. During this time members were invited to a process of reading a 170+ page report with section titles that included words like pornography, homosexuality, and gender dysphoria. The denomination realized that these subjects could be divisive, so they put together material that helped from discussions that focused on hearing from each person. It was encouraging to see that these circles were able to give a space for something that is hard to do: providing a way of talking about the human sexuality report with people from diverse perspectives without it becoming something that divides us.

As the listening circles finished, we have been asking the question ‘what’s next?’ How can we continue to have conversations about sexuality? We know that this is something that we need to continue to discuss, we need to continue to find ways of talking about it because it is something that is meaningful in the culture around us. We need to be thoughtful, intentional, and proactive in these conversations and a major part of this is continuing to learn how to have these conversations.

In light of this, I will be leading a group through material titled Grace and Truth starting in January. It is a curriculum that addresses many of the subjects of the human sexuality report, but it does so through case studies. These case studies will provide more opportunities to practice what we learned in our listening circles – how to listen to each other well as we chart a way forward.

I think this is important, not just because it is a challenging subject, but it is a place where God is on the move and at work. As I’ve said in the past, whenever culture is undergoing change, there is always missional opportunity. God is always at work in our world and in our culture and that should give us confidence in having these discussions. We can step in asking ourselves how we are to bring the beauty of God’s vision of sexuality into words and into practice in 2023.

Interested in joining this discussion group? Let us know! We have limited spots available in this first trial run, but it would be helpful to know your interest in case there are people wanting to be part of a conversation like this in the future. If it goes well, we can look forward to being part of this as we aim to do this with a larger group.