January 25, 2018 Editor

Let’s all agree to ‘live in tension’

Jan 25, 2018

by Dennis Coday [Dennis Coday was named editor of NCR Jan. 1, 2012. He has worked for NCR since 2003.]Opinion

photo above: (Unsplash/Davide Ragusa)

WN: Wow, eh?! (Okay, I’m Canadian…)

an excerpt:

The No. 1 example of [setting aside “the familiar rhetoric” and talking with folks as people] is found in the dialogue in which the members of Call to Action Nebraska and Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, have been engaged. They are working to reconcile as members of a community after 20 years of animosity. What a dramatic example for all of us in Gospel nonviolence and communion.

The best quote from that story: “During their dialogue with the bishop, there was mutual understanding that no one would be required to reject certain positions. … They agreed to ‘live in that tension.’ ” Wow, huh?

The honesty and bravery of the group needs to be emulated. Wouldn’t we all be better off if we all agreed to “live in that tension”?

Another example of setting aside familiar rhetoric and talking person to person is the “Bishops banter” story we’ve reprinted from the NZ Catholic. I have a hard time imaging a similarly candid, engaging — and, yes, public — conversation happening between U.S. bishops and a selection of U.S. young people. Bishop Stephen Lowe said on the church’s relationship to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, we are at a “Galileo moment” and on this issue the young people in the church are prophetic.

Wow, huh?

But for stepping away from the “familiar rhetoric,” you can’t beat Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabruck, Germany. “I’m concerned with fundamental questions of how we deal with each other [like person to person],” he said. ” ‘Marriage for all’ differs clearly from the church’s concept of marriage, [but, you know what,] it’s now a political reality.” Same-sex marriage is legal, he says, so how are we going to deal with it? By denying funerals to spouses? By treating transgender people like “collateral damage in the culture war”?

“How [are we] accompanying [our faithful] pastorally and liturgically?” Bode asks. “Shouldn’t we be fairer, given that there is much that’s positive?”

Wow, huh? Not only is he asking questions instead of providing the answers, he’s admitting something positive could come out of a loving, committed relationship, even one between two people of the same sex.

He’s trying to live with the tension.

Please click on: Live With The Tension

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.