Approximately three weeks ago, I began my first call in a small congregation in New York. Ministry is an odd thing, so I've decided to chronicle some of the events and thoughts of my first year.
A note on context and some initial thoughts...I am an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America, at a time in which this denomination suffers some severe tension and an uncertain future. For a while we managed to keep our conflict hidden under the surface, but it has emerged full-force in response to the controversy of a seminary president performing the wedding of his daughter to another woman. Of course, homosexuality is the issue we all talk about, but it is not at the root of our dissent.
It is not our stand on homosexuality that we must discern in the coming months, but our very identity. Who is the RCA? What do we believe about God, the world, and the nature of our relationship with one another? One might expect that a denomination as old as ours would have answered such questions, and indeed, we have the Bible, the standards of the faith, and the Book of Church Order, which have helped us to do so in the past. But the changing of society constantly challenges us to reinterpret our sources.
Since it is painfully obvious that we disagree, perhaps the more important question is: must we agree in order to remain in communion with one another?