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Disagreeing Agreeably

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Today, as the Methodist Conference in Birmingham discusses marriage and relationships, we recognise that there may be different but strongly and sincerely held views. So we prayerfully offer this extract from the Civility Covenant. Drafted by US theologian Jim Wallis, it has been supported by Christians from across the theological spectrum and includes:

1) We commit that our dialogue will reflect the spirit of the Scriptures, where our posture toward each other is to be "quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" (James 1:19).
2) We believe that each of us, and our fellow human beings, are created in the image of God. The respect we owe to God should be reflected in the honour and respect we show to each other in our common humanity, particularly in how we speak to each other...(James 3:9-10).
3) We pledge that when we disagree, we will do so respectfully, without falsely impugning the other's motives, attacking the other's character, or questioning the other's faith, and recognizing in humility that in our limited, human opinions, "we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror" (1 Corinthians 13:12). We will "be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2).
4) We will ever be mindful of the language we use in expressing our disagreements, being neither arrogant nor boastful...(Proverbs 18:12).

For an article on the full Civility Covenant, click here.

For the conference report 'God in Love Unites Us', click here.

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