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Rev David Baker. Photo by Dianne Jensen.
Rev David Baker. Photo: Dianne Jensen

Wrestling with angels

The last two editions of Journey have elicited comment regarding the May edition cover, and articles and letters about same-gender marriage, homosexual orientation and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

The Uniting Church, through its Basis of Union, commits itself to be a church open to the world, in the light of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, as attested to by the apostolic witness. As we adhere to paragraph 11 of the Basis, we commit ourselves to be open to the fruits of historical, literary and scientific enquiry into our world, and to be open to having our understanding of the will and purpose of God sharpened by contact with contemporary thought.

This commitment, to both hear the word of God as he comes to us through the scriptures, and to be open to new discoveries, places us constantly in some degree of tension. Bruce Mullan highlighted that in his Journey article last month. As disciples, creative tension can be good for us. We have the gift of an inner peace of love, acceptance, and being reconciled with God; a grace in which we live and which we owe to others, yet we are also on a constant journey of being drawn out of ourselves, and our assumptions and ideas, and being made in the image of Christ.

Being born again is not without pain and struggle!

The Synod has adopted resolutions—between 1991 and 2003—on sexuality. These may be found at:
ucaqld.com.au/administration/synod-meetings/minutes

These resolutions clearly adopt a Western Protestant, traditional view of sexuality, marriage and sexual expression. The resolutions also address matters of church discipline and freedom of conscience.

Members of the Uniting Church have a legitimate expectation that the church will engage them in the task of discerning the will and purpose of God and that this will be carried out fairly and openly. They also have a reasonable expectation that our publications will fairly and clearly represent existing doctrines and resolutions of the church and the various issues people are raising around matters of life and faith.

The obligation upon us as members of the church is to engage these discernments with humility and grace, and with a commitment to finding the truth that sets us free. One of my favourite Bible stories is in Genesis 32, the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel God sent. Discipleship in the Uniting Church is at times a bit of a wrestle—of thoughts, ideas, beliefs and of deeper understandings of the Christian story being born amongst us.

Rev David Baker
Moderator, Queensland Synod

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