Questions for Discussion/Reflection

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Personal Reflections on My Belief about Homosexuality

  1. Bill lists a number of issues that the Mennonite Church has faced and wrestled through during his lifetime. What social issues have you processed with other church members? How were they “resolved?” or what were the specific results? What observations do you have about how decisions were made?
  2. Do you personally have gay or lesbian friends? a few, dozens? Have you talked with them about their experiences of being gay or lesbian? Have they felt free to talk with you about their faith relationship to the church? What have you learned from them about friendships or judgments of God’s love?
  3. Bill makes five suggestions regarding future directions for the church. These suggestions are rejected by many. What three suggestions do you have for helping the Mennonite church grow toward peace on this issue?

How I Understand Church Membership?

  1. Sandy states in the first paragraph, ?Jesus did not discourage anyone who willingly followed him? From your reading of the Gospels, do you agree with this observation? Do you expect the church to have the same agenda as Jesus? Why or why not? If the church’s agenda is the same as the agenda Jesus lived and taught, how do you think it will be expressed toward sexual minorities?
  2. The writer believes that a congregation needs gay and lesbian Christians among its membership in order to ?show us who they are as believers in God and followers of Jesus.? How might their inclusion broaden your view of God and the meaning of grace and discipleship?
  3. Sandy writes, I do not believe that the mission of the church is to keep itself pure? The task of the church, I believe, is to welcome all who receive with gladness the gospel of Jesus? What sense of purpose could emerge for your congregation if these two statements were practiced? What changes might be expected of you as a member? Are you willing to face those changes? Why or why not?

How I Learned to Appreciate the Bible Again

  1. Describe the lens through which you viewed the Bible as a youth. Discuss how it was formed and what were the influencing elements? How has your lens changed? How does your current lens change your way of viewing the Bible? What difference does it make?
  2. What relationships have you observed or encountered that were exploitative, hurtful or destructive? What change would happen if you were to see in these situations the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer, “Thy [God’s] will be done on earth as it is in heaven?”
  3. Do you agree with Titus’ overriding principle: “Relating to anyone in exploitative ways should be avoided?” How do you practice the call of Jesus to live in mutually nurturing and restorative relationships? Discuss specific ways in which you might change the way you relate to gays and lesbians? How might you encourage others to adopt this overriding principle?

Mennonites Thinking about Sexual Minorities

  1. What is your overall response to the materials reviewed? What surprised you as you read the document? What values are there in knowing about earlier reports? Which ones would you wish to examine further?
  2. Discuss J. H. Yoder’s view that “Faulty expectations continue to get in the way of process,” using the ideas in the fourth paragraph. Do you agree that asking whether or not a given deed is sin is an ?unbiblical reflex?? Would you be grateful to be freed from it? Why or why not?
  3. How does, “reading the Bible as a whole,” (from Jim Reimer material enable your study of texts that are cited in discussions on “homosexuality?” How does this scheme for reading the Bible help with the three choices that Reimer says Mennonites have regarding homosexual activity: that it is intrinsically evil, intrinsically imperfect, or morally neutral?
  4. Yoder Nyce, the reviewer’s, concluding comments raise three issues: church power or control that inhibits members from living out conscience, the risk of failure to comprehend God’s forgiveness, and our inherites sexual imbalance in naming and living out many dimensions of sexuality. Discuss specifics of how these issues affect your attitudes and actions toward sexual minorities.
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