March 4, 2018

Journey of Empathy and LGBTQ Diversity

The following Journey Description is a living document that will continue to be shaped by our community as we continue on this journey together.

Similar to Vox’s Values, it is not part of our culture to craft statements top down and vote on it. Rather, we lived life together for 10 years and then put into words our journey to articulate God’s work and our hopes. In this sense the words are still a living document and can be shaped. Our LGBTQ Journey Description captures our story around these conversations over 5 years and we’d like the community to continue to shape it. This is not a fixed vision or aspiration, rather a description of ourselves and our journey together, born out of our listening circles.

Journey Description

One of our values at Vox is Empathy within diversity. This means modeling Christ’s life of standing with those that are different than us, especially those who have been marginalized by society and religious institutions. In this way, we practice transcending polarization, and enter into what is made possible by God’s spirit: the rich benefits of a body of Christ, with many diverse members, committed to one another in love.

Therefore, we at Vox are committed to the following practices regarding conversations about gender and sexual diversity:

  • 1) We welcome and invite LGBTQ persons and families to participate at all levels of community, partaking in sacraments, serving in ministry, joining as members, and holding leadership roles as you are called.
  • 2) We practice spiritual discernment and empathetic conversations together.
  • 3) We welcome diversity of theological views and scripture interpretations, and do not strive for agreement or certainty.
  • 4) We use tools of listening, empathy, and nonviolent communication to refrain from trying to change anyone’s mind on matters of discussion; rather, we practice listening, learning, and discerning God’s spirit together.

Since 2015, Vox Covenant Members have been in the process of learning about gender and sexual diversity through engaging the scriptures and listening to God, our LGBTQ members, ourselves, and each other. We encourage those in the Vox community to practice empathy and posture of humility when it comes to matters of diversity. We value mystery over certainty, and practice deferring to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all areas of our lives, and we will support and trust LGBTQ persons and families to discern God’s guidance in their own lives.

We affirm broad historical orthodoxy as outlined in the consensual creeds of Christianity, notably the centrality of the Word of God, freedom in Christ, and a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit. We celebrate the ECC’s history of refusing to allow theological differences to divide a community, while at the same time advocating for the marginalized. We realize that not all Vox Covenant Members will arrive at the same conclusions about the Bible’s teaching on same-sex relationships and gender identity. We believe that the beauty of the body of Christ comes from our shared faith in Christ, not from total agreement about every matter. If we are committed to the practices above, rooted in our core values and the love of Christ, we believe our differences and diversity will deepen and enrich our spiritual life together.

[Photo by amanda aura @ Flickr]

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