In June 2018, the RCA General Synod commended the “Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality” for consideration by the Commission on Theology (COT) and the wider RCA. In response, a diverse group of people from the LGBTQ community, parents, pastors, educators and others shared their thoughts with Room for All and the COT, offering alternative perspectives on a faithful ethic for living as sexual and gendered people of God. Room for All is grateful for the opportunity to share those responses in “Outsights” over the next several weeks.
Welcome from Jesus
Rev. Steve Mathonnet-Vander Well, Iowa
The either/or binaries that the Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality assumes are inadequate as by God’s grace, our knowledge about sexual and gender diversity has expanded since the Old and New Testaments were canonized, and later, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession were written and adopted as Reformed Standards.
For this reason, I have moved beyond binaries both in my own thinking and in leading worship. For example, in the past, when addressing the congregation in worship, I’ve usually said, “Sisters and brothers….” Lately, I’ve gone back to the old “Beloved,” or “Beloved in Christ….” I don’t want to make a big deal out of it, a hard and fast rule, an absolute must.
But increasingly I am becoming aware that there are more people than I ever realized who don’t identify with our gender binaries–male or female, brother or sister. There are all kinds of people in a great variety of circumstances who simply do not fit those binaries. I want them to sense a welcome in worship, at church, from Jesus. It is such a small, simple, and subtle change. Most people will never even notice, but if just a few hear and feel included, then it’s important to me.