Questions for Discussion/Reflection

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Conversations with the Undecided

  1. In the fourth paragraph, Kathleen shares how she uses the Bible to solve human dilemmas. Is this an effective use of the Bible? How do you depend on the Bible to discern God’s will for yourself?
  2. This article challenges us to decide which biblical teachings and commandments to obey literally and which ones to “hold” within a broader framework. How do you decide which of the Old Testament teachings have a priority for us today? How do you decide which of the New Testament teachings carry more “weight” for you, and why?
  3. What is the ultimate instruction from the Bible that gives shape to the decisions that you make in relation to others? How do you express it?

Authority: “Bread” or Grace Enough for All

  1. Dorothy’s first sentence states: “All church members possess and exercise authority as a sacred trust.” How do you express authority? In what way is authority a “sacred trust?” How does your personal authority: (a) grow through your attention to scripture? (b) take shape through tradition? © expand through knowledge (d) find meaning through experience?
  2. Dorothy asks: “By what authority might church members endorse basic principles of biblical truth-rather than literally lift a few verses from their cultural and historical context-as decisive for inclusion in God’s family?” Name and apply two or three basic principles of biblical truth.
  3. Respond to the following observation and question: “Partners in same-gender friendship are often deprived [by opponents] of two qualities of being fully human-identity and community” Who can presume to belong while stripping others of their identity as believers, their freedom for group worship or pastoral care?

“Homosexuality” and Church Membership:* *A Model of Power for Unity and Renewal

  1. John suggests three questions that candidates for membership might be asked. Could you answer these in the affirmative? If all the members of your congregation would live by the positive answer to these questions, what changes might transpire? How might your life change?
  2. John writes, “In the cross Jesus revealed God’s power and the method of reconciliation of the world.” How does your congregation demonstrate the inclusive nature of God’s reconciliation? How is the power of God exerted through your interaction with sexual minorities?
  3. Again quoting John: “Mennonites face a choice between dividing over homosexuality or uniting over peacemaking.” Recalling that peacemakers are blessed, what will you and your congregation do to help in peacemaking?

These questions (pp. 47, 48) are intended to stimulate your reflection on the topics discussed by the writers. We hope that families, small groups, and Sunday school classes will find them helpful. Addresses are included so that you may send questions and comments to the writers. However, we believe that the greatest benefit will come from discussion among small groups, including with people whose viewpoints complement and differ from yours.

Kathleen Kern, 293 Brooksboro Drive, Webster NY 14580 [email protected]

Dorothy Yoder Nyce, 1603 S. 15th Street, Goshen IN 46526

John K. Stoner, 728 Fulton Street, Akron PA 17501 [email protected]

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