Comings and Goings is a blog written by Theology, Formation, and Evangelism Director Charles B. "Chip" Hardwick as he travels throughout the church. God is on the move out and about in the world, working to redeem all things in Jesus Christ. As we join this mission, by the power of the Spirit we see God on the move. This blog contains glimpses of how Chip finds this to be true in his comings and goings.
You can follow Chip on twitter (@chiphardwick) or find him on Facebook (Chip Hardwick).
This post gives me a chance to synthesize some of what I have been learning over the past couple of weeks through my travels. I have recently traveled to both the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta and the Presbytery of Northern Kansas to facilitate the marriage study published by the Office of Theology and Worship (which is a key part of my ministry area). This study is explicitly designed not to drive participants toward consensus or toward problem solving, but rather toward allowing everyone who participates to hear the others’ points of view, so that they gain empathy and understanding.
In a recent post, I spoke about discussing Christian marriage at the Presbytery of Arkansas, using a two-hour version of the six-week study on marriage completed by the Office of Theology and Worship at the request of the 220th General Assembly.
Our goal in producing this guide is to help the church think in nuanced ways about the issue of marriage—in particular same-gender marriage. The General Assembly did not ask us to write a paper marking a specific position, but rather to ask questions designed to help congregations and participants understand more clearly what they themselves believe. Please pray alongside me that the Holy Spirit will use this guide to do just that.
One of the most interesting conversations I had there revolved around the marriage study that the General Assembly has asked my colleagues in the Office of Theology and Worship to prepare. In order to make sure that the study is as effective and as faithful as it can be, thirteen churches are pre-testing the study, and Hopewell is one of them.