Michael Hidalgo

A LETTER TO THE DENVER COMMUNITY CHURCH FAMILY1.21.2015

DCC-SquareBrothers and Sisters,

Here we are in 2015. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and look ahead toward the New Year. For us at Denver Community Church it meant the start of new teaching focused on sexuality.

On Sunday, January 4 we began a new season of teaching based on Song of Songs – a book of ancient love poetry. We spoke of how this book was groundbreaking in its day, and how we believe it can be groundbreaking in our day as well.

And we need something groundbreaking when it comes to how we think about sexuality. I say this because the way the Church has thought and communicated about sex and sexuality over the years is failing us today. We need a new sexual ethic. (You can listen to the sermon from Sunday, January 4 in its entirety by clicking here).

That first sermon (and those that followed) has stirred conversation among many. Questions. Opinions. Assumptions. Debates. All swirling around the subject of sexuality.

Of course, this is exactly what we want our sermons to accomplish. However, we learned this is not exactly what many of you want. Several asked us to be more directive in our teaching. Asking questions like: “Why are we not outlining what is right and wrong?” “What is permissible?” “How far is too far?” “What are proper boundaries?”

Naturally, this leads us to Google.

If you don’t know something, just wait two seconds and you will. Why? Because we can “Google” it. We can search for anything and find millions of search results in under a second. For example I just Googled “Big Clown Ingests a Toy Pony.” My search yielded about 32,900,000 results in just 0.48 seconds. (How many of you Googled that to see if it’s true?) We have access to information in a way the world has never seen.

I bring this up to point out that dispensing and absorbing information no longer holds the power it once did. Information is free and available everywhere. We need to know how to assess and interact with information now more than ever. We need to learn how to think critically.

Which brings us back to our sermons.

We believe the best sermons are far more than a platform for dispensing information to affirm accepted, collective thinking. Sermons should stoke doubt, raise questions and disorient us. Not only that; sermons should strengthen our faith, offer direction in navigating questions and help reorient us.

Sermons like this give us a choice, but not a choice about making a choice. If someone leaves and is not forced to interact with what they just heard then we have failed. The end of a sermon should always be the beginning of conversation.

Which brings us back to conversations.

We must be thoughtful and careful as we enter these conversations. It’s tempting for us to take part of one sermon, run ahead with one idea, dwell on one thought or use one quote in an attempt to develop further thoughts. But that’s like trying to construct a house with one tool. It won’t work.

Few sermons are able stand on their own saying all that needs to be said. Any one sermon is one part of a larger body of work. As we teach through Song of Songs there will be seven sermons. Each sermon will connect and overlap with another – all of them raising different questions and furthering conversation.

Does this mean we will answer every question about sexuality in seven sermons? Not a chance. What it does mean is we will be better equipped to think critically about the complex realities regarding sex and sexuality. This allows us to then address questions that were not asked with a full compliment of tools and insights we may not have if we tried to give an answer to every question.

Will we share rules, boundaries and guidelines so we can clearly know what is permissible? No. But we will share insights, offer direction and elevate our view of humanity so we can see the beautiful and sacred nature of sex and sexuality. Rather than state what is permissible, we want to ask, “What is God’s best for all of us?” We want to cultivate a clear understanding about what is God’s best, and have a fresh vision about what it means to live as whole men and women who bear the image of God.

What we do know is this: we conclude our teaching on Song of Songs in four weeks. We could not be more thrilled about this. Because our hope is that when we finish the final sermon that will be the start of fresh conversation that will empower all of us to think together in a fresh way about sexuality.

Grace + Peace to you all,

Michael

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