As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.
Well, after a decade of ministry in the CRCNA, it’s finally happened: I’ve been delegated to synod this year.
It’s my first time.
And, to be honest, I go with fear and trembling.
I go with fear and trembling not because of the nuances and challenges of steering through important conversations, CRCNA Church Order, and ecclesiastical politics (all of which, full disclosure, I kind of enjoy), but instead because of how I’ve heard many people talk about the delegates from synod last year.
For instance, referring to delegates on the more traditional side (especially in the discussion over human sexuality), I’ve heard people say things like, “They don’t actually care about people. They’re just a bunch of old, white men who don't understand the way the world works, and so they want to keep things the way they’re comfortable with.”
But then, referring to delegates on the more progressive side, I’ve heard people say things like, “They don’t actually care about the Bible. They’re just a bunch of revisionists who want to change scripture, change the church, and change God’s will to suit their own desires.”
But that doesn’t square with what I know of many of the people who were in the room at Synod last year. You see, I actually know a number of the people, on all sides of the various issues, who were delegated to Synod 2022. And the truth is, given what I know of them, most of what I’ve heard people saying about them isn’t true.
For instance, most of them do care about people, even if they happen to be on the traditional side of the human sexuality debate. And most of them do care about the Bible, even if they’re on the affirming side. The fact is, regardless of the various positions they take on hot-button issues, most of the people who end up in leadership in our denomination, at least in my experience, end up in those positions precisely because they care about those things (and many others as well).
So as a result, I have a simple request ahead of Synod 2023: Please try to give those of us who have been delegated to Synod the benefit of the doubt. Give us the benefit of the doubt that we love Scripture. Give us the benefit of the doubt that we love people. Give us the benefit of the doubt that we love and want to serve Christ and his church. And give us the benefit of the doubt that, if we met you, we would love and desire to serve you too.