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A [Baptist] Conference on Sexuality and Covenant

Thomas Whitley

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University have joined forces for A [Baptist] Conference on Sexuality and Covenant.

CBF, Mercer collaborate to offer conference on sexuality in 2012: Ideas to be explored during the conference include the following:

• Cultural trends demeaning sex as a bodily function rather than a gift from God.

• The erosion of marriage as an institution.

• Changing cultural attitudes about the morality of premarital sex.

• A consistently high divorce rate resulting in millions of sexually experienced single adults (many of them church members) who still long for the intimacy and sexual expression that they have already experienced earlier in their adult lives.

• The growing percentage of adult Americans that cohabit for extended periods of time without plans of marrying.

• Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals who seek religiously – and culturally – sanctioned forms of sexual expression, and the question of whether there can be any morally legitimate same sex expression within God’s will divides Christian congregations, denominations and the Church as a whole.

• Generational differences in sexual attitudes. For example, polls indicate that people under 30 are far more accepting of gay and lesbian church members, and cohabitating unmarried singles.

While I wish the conversation were much further down the road than it currently is I am grateful for those in the church who are actively and respectfully engaging in this conversation. Further, I am glad that the conversation is broader than just same-sex issues, for while those are important issues to discuss there are other important issues to discuss that, in my opinion, are having a much more devastating impact on family in our culture.

From the Prospectus for the conference:

There is no preconceived agenda. There are no plans to draft a closing statement or pronounce a sexual ethic for all Baptists. No political or public-policy issues will be scheduled for discussion. . . . The goal of this conference is the equipping of intergenerational congregational leaders (lay and clergy) for meaningful personal and congregational dialogue and discipleship as it relates to Christian sexual ethics.

Plan to attend if you can and if you can't use this prospectus as a conversation starter for a healthy and meaningful conversation in your community.