Earlier this week The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released a document called The Nashville Statement. It was drawn up by a group of evangelical pastors and theologians and endorsed by 150 initial signatories representing one particular strand of contemporary Christianity.
It does not speak for all Christians, and it certainly does not speak for me. Nor does it reflect the generous and inclusive spirit of The Downtown Presbyterian Church. It contradicts what we print every week on our bulletin:
Our welcome extends to everyone, whatever your economic circumstances, your faith background, your racial or ethnic identity, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your political affiliations.
As a diverse community we seek to intentionally embody God’s radically inclusive and transformative love for everyone. With love and grace, we are called as a community to grow together as a voice for justice and peace — each as we are, with our unique human stories of joy and struggle.
Many rebuttals have already been offered. Among the best is Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Denver Statement. Mayor Megan Barry has forcefully stated that the Nashville Statement does not represent the values and ethos of our city. Another group has offered The Accurate Nashville Statement (to which you can add your name).
This Sunday, September 3, I’m going to moderate a conversation on The Nashville Statement during our regular Christian Education time at 9:45 a.m. in Parlor 2. I hope that we might have a fruitful discussion, perhaps further clarifying and articulating DPC’s particular values and identity, and talking about ways to more fully embrace and promote our understanding of authentic Christian community.
Of course we also want to acknowledge that no community is entirely homogenous and so I hope we might listen and speak not only with passion but understanding and respect.
~from Pastor Mike