After reading these two pieces, I have several questions about what we might expect over the coming three General Conventions and beyond. The most foundational question is what we as Christians are called to do in response to opposing views on politically charged theological issues. Are we called to be "tolerant," in a 'Live and let live' sense? Are we called to hold firm to our beliefs, even when they are contrary to the beliefs of other professing Christians? Are we called to create Community in Isolation, in which we exclude anyone who doesn't conform to our entire theological curriculum? Unfortunately, there is little difference between those choices.
The word "Tolerance" is charged in ways that we might not be readily aware. We tend to lean on that concept as the 'moral high ground' in which we can describe ourselves as being comfortable with a diverse group of people. What that term really points to, however, is 'endurance despite considerable obstacles.' It requires opposition and puts us in a position in which only we, or the group we 'tolerate' can be victorious. If they are an 'obstacle to tolerate,' then they are, by definition, incapable of sharing in our victories.
As members of the Body of Christ, we are not called to be the 'right thumb' that tolerates the 'spleen' as an obstacle to our survival or our triumph. We are called to be a strong and useful 'right thumb' that does not degrade the 'spleen' for being a 'poor right thumb.' Nor are we called to be a 'right thumb' that filters blood and fights infection.' Indeed, we are called to understand that not only can a body survive without a right thumb or a spleen (rendering us not as imperative as we might like to think,) but also to strive to excel at those things that a right thumb is designed to perform for the larger body. And that is the most crucial point: "for the larger body." We must be mindful of the whole body and never pretend that the 'right thumb' was always intended to be the core of the whole. It is not the core; it is a correlative part.
May we, through God's Grace, keep our intentions on those things we do well for the Kingdom of God and respect those who excel in different areas, that we might better perform our function and, in turn, create a body that is diverse, strong, and immanently capable.