The Baptist Assembly (or The Gathering) was held from Thursday to Saturday this week. As I posted about earlier, the big issue of contention was what we would decide about same-sex marriages. These are a few of my reflections and questions coming out of that. I should say that the rules and regulations can be a bit dizzying at times, so please don’t read this as a technical breakdown. Also, there are still a great deal of thoughts and emotions for me which have yet to completely crystallise. So this may be less clear and concise than usual.
In the end, after heaps of discussion, and so many motions and counter-motions I lost track, (at one point we voted on a motion to stop talking and vote on a motion… it was like Inception), the delegates voted through an amended proposal which turned the stance against pastors officiating same-sex marriages from a statement into a recommendation. We also voted to put together a working party which will explore the issue further and report back in future, potentially with more recommendations.
I tried my best to note down the positions expressed by those who spoke to the proposals, though I gave up after about an hour. While it’s not scientific, I generally felt that about a third who spoke were against the proposal, and in favour of, or open to blessing same-sex marriage. Another third were not in favour of blessing a same-sex marriage, but did not feel it was the Union’s place to make a binding decision, or an issue to divide over. Finally, roughly a third seemed to feel this was an issue to divide over, and that it was a biblical or gospel issue.
As far as the decision to affirm a conservative stance as a recommendation, but not a binding statement, my read was that there was a general feeling that this represented a decent compromise. I supported it of course (as it was the only proposal then under consideration), but people on both sides – apart from a handful of dissenters – seemed relatively happy with the outcome. I personally described myself as “7 out of 10” happy with the outcome to the people that asked!
Having said that, while I think there is much good in this outcome, I also still have questions and concerns. I haven’t landed the plane on some of them, but I’ll try to express them below… Continue reading