Vision: Unity that is deeper than agreement
ESA’s Oriented to Love dialogues help Christ followers come together around the highly charged and challenging topic of sexual and gender diversity in the church. How can Christians love each other across sharp disagreements about what faithful sexuality looks like? How can we listen respectfully in order to truly see and know those we disagree with rather than vilify and dismiss each other?
Unity was one of Christ’s most passionate desires during his walk among us. The apostle Paul took up that passion as well:
“I … beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” Eph. 4:1-6
But how often is Christ’s body torn asunder as people choose sides, hunker down, and take cover, refusing to engage? How can we love those we can’t even see from our trenches?
The goals of Oriented to Love are NOT to:
- strike theological stances,
- debate each other about various Scripture passages, or
- agree with each other.
The goals ARE to:
- help LGBTQIA and heterosexual Christians of all stripes come to the same table, regardless of our theological understanding of the issues;
- listen to each other’s stories and in doing so get to know and understand each other;
- ask hard questions in a safe environment;
- discover what God is doing in and through LGBTQIA Christians and among heterosexual Christians who love LGBTQIA people; discuss how the church can be the church for sexual minorities as well as for heterosexual people; and discover what committed Christians, both sexual minorities and the sexual majority, have to offer and teach each other within the larger body of Christ.
Read a full program update from the facilitator.