From the History of ISSUES: An Open Letter to the Consultation (1988)

July 2, 1988

The church’s General Convention has assembled in Detroit to debate and act upon various matters affecting our common life and mission.

Those issues which seem to preoccupy us and generate strong feelings are women bishops, homosexuality and gender and ordination, and inclusive language in worship- all in-house matters. They are important issues. It isn’t surprising that they cause emotions to rise in many of us.

One wonders, however, about the future of a church which carries on about them - sometimes without charity - and yet fails to grapple with the context in which they are set. Some now are beginning to see that the five thousand year male rule over human and earthly affairs simply hasn’t worked. In another dimension, western civilization is courting bankruptcy, if not already bonded to it...

… In the emerging global civilization, men and women are beginning to relate themselves to each other as equals. So are rich and poor nations, Christians and members of other faith traditions, communists and capitalists, gays and straights, Latinos and WASPS. Diversity is a cause for wonder, not a thorny problem to be fixed. Some sensitive humans are beginning to relate themselves to all the planet’s life forms, and that is essential for our survival.

Our agenda, our perceptions of what is real and good and true, must be set more and more by the needs of the planet. If our church could see those things which preoccupy us within that context, perhaps we would feel less heat and see more light.


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