Thursday, November 3, 2016

An Open Letter to the Bishops' Commission: You Don't Represent Me

Dear Commissioners,

Thank you for agreeing to the task in front of you. I don't think anybody who is not among your number will ever be able to fully appreciate what you will experience over the next several months. You will all be in my prayers throughout this process. It sounds like there will be opportunities for ordinary pastors and lay people like myself to share opinions on possible ways forward. I'm really glad for that. But I have one thought that I want to share with you separately from other opinions.

You do not represent me. Nor do you represent anybody else. Please do not forget this. If you don't remember this then there really isn't much point in even meeting. If, for example, you have joined the Wesleyan Covenant Association you may feel compelled to stand by their declaration that a so-called local option should not be on the table. But if you're open to the movement of the Spirit then your mind may be changed. If you represent the WCA then you have to vote with their wishes as their representative instead of voting where the Spirit moves you. If, on the other hand, you are a member or Reconciling Ministries you may be compelled to reject a so-called jurisdictional solution outright because it leaves many LGBT pastors and laity unprotected. But if you're open to the movement of the Spirit then you might find that as part of a wholistic solution. If you represent RMN then you won't be able to be open to a solution such as that even if it is God's will.

You don't represent RMN, or WCA, or IRD, or Good News, or Love Prevails, or the conference you are a member of, or the local church you serve, or the country that you live in. You can't approach this as a representative of any person or group and be faithful to your work. You represent only Christ and Christ's Church. And so for the sake of Christ's Church please do not take sides. Do not decide now what the outcome must be or cannot be. Do not base your decisions on what others tell you. Instead seek diligently Christ's truth, that we might all be set free.

Blessings to you in your work,

Rev. David Livingston