I never stop thinking. I don't know what it is, but I just can't shut my mind off. I wanted to share with you some things that have been going on in my mind. This particular post isn't to share any answers, insights or to give you the end result of my journey through some tough questions. This is just to say, Hey, I'm a pastor in Tacoma and these are some of the questions I'm having to wrestle with. Please pray for me.
-I'm wrestling with how to gauge people's commitment to community. If it's simply based on average attendance at a weekday gathering, we're missing the point. But if we don't examine it, we're neglecting a core piece of biblical Christianity. As we grow, how do I know if our people are truly engaging Intentional Community?
-I'm wrestling with gay marriage. Now before you get all up in arms and think I don't believe in marriage being between one man and one woman, I will refer you to my Re-defining Marriage series (www.thepathwaytacoma.com). I absolutely hold a biblical view of marriage. But my state and my city have embraced same-sex marriage and I genuinely love people who are a part of the GLBT community. I've had same-sex couples ask me to marry them. I've had same-sex couples share with me the joy they feel for being allowed to marry. We have friends who are in same-sex relationships that have children together. I'm praying that those friends will come to Christ. And when they do, they will ask me if they should get a divorce and break up the only family their kids have ever known. They'll probably ask me a million other questions I haven't even thought of. And when they do, how will I respond? How would Jesus respond?
-I'm wrestling with marijuana. I've had someone smoke it during a worship gathering. I know that sounds crazy but I think I was one of the few people who even noticed. Smoking pot is legal in my state. You've heard all the arguments, but for Christians it has always been easy to just say, "Well, it's against the law so...". Well, it's not against the law anymore. When people ask me how to approach it, I'm wrestling with how to respond.
-I'm wrestling with what makes a heterosexual couple truly married in the eyes of God? If you grew up in a solid family like I did, you may value marriage, even the marriage license, a great deal. But what if you come from a situation where divorce is rampant? That certificate can be signed and then torn up in the blink of an eye. Where's the value in that? So when a couple tells me they want to get married in the eyes of God, but they don't want to make it legal in the eyes of the state of Washington, I wrestle with how to respond. The state of Washington doesn't care if they're legally married or not. Everything in me can't comprehend why they would not want to get legally married. But I don't have their history and their wounds. I'm wrestling with it.
I'll stop there. Wherever you are, your pastor is wrestling with the same things, similar things, or will be wrestling with all of these things and more in the near future. I'm not really looking for advice... your pastor probably isn't either. I'm just looking for genuine prayer that the Holy Spirit would guide me as I wrestle with these questions. Thank you for praying for me and my church. Don't forget to pray for your pastor and your church!