In my last blog I disclosed that I had taken off my shoes and walked into my inner sanctuary and changed the Bible’s place in determining my core beliefs. I no longer regard biblical data as factual, yet I do find gems of wisdom, truth and beauty midst the clutter of inaccuracies. Some Christians who live in small communities value hard work so much, that they twist the bible rule from
any one who is unwilling to work shall not eat
into support for a political position which means that
anyone without a job should not receive government assistance.
In the past the bible was used to support the idea that the earth is flat, that slavery and patriarchy is God’s will. Now the bible is used to deny ministers the right to unite believers with same sex orientation into holy matrimony.
The most recent victim of abuse is a well known and respected church leader of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference. He has offered the church a defense and explanation of his actions in an open letter to the church. If you are not yet among the more than 68.000 readers of Wenger’s letter you may join them here. No matter what your view of homosexuality the compassionate letter from this 96 year old brother is well worth your reading.
I read Chester’s letter as a plea for unity which is consistent with the prayer of Jesus in John 17. There Jesus is reported as translated in the KJV to have prayed: ” 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” The logic of this prayer is that division weakens the witness of the church for Jesus.
I’ve read the comments of readers to the Wenger open letter. I comment on only two of them. One describes the letter as heresy. The other says: “Having found this “open letter” to be thought-provoking; I intend to prayerfully examine my own position on this topic in the days and weeks ahead. Thank you Chester for framing the question in such an authentic context.”
This summer My Joy and I visited Chester and Sarah Jane Wenger in Lancaster County,Pa. I wanted to see them because I had heard some rumors in Goshen about happenings related to the Wengers. We were privileged to hear their story from their own hearts and lips. I wrote of that visit and you may find it by clicking here. I did not attempt to tell their story. It is their story, and they have told it well.