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I wanted to pass along a recent Banner article I found helpful, titled Give Synod the Benefit of the Doubt

The article, written by first-time synod delegate Brandon Haan, offers the following nuanced reminder: 

Please try to give those of us who have been delegated to Synod the benefit of the doubt. Give us the benefit of the doubt that we love Scripture. Give us the benefit of the doubt that we love people. Give us the benefit of the doubt that we love and want to serve Christ and his church. And give us the benefit of the doubt that, if we met you, we would love and desire to serve you too.

Did you see the article? Did it offer any helpful reminders?


Hi Staci,

I did read that article and found it helpful.  As a delegate to Synod 2022 I felt a lot of what Brandon expressed in this article.  What I found at Synod was a lot of very loving people striving to serve God.  That includes a number of people I disagree significantly with.  That did not stop me from interacting with them, breaking bread with them, or appreciating them.  In the end, we had work to do and decisions to make, but making enemies was not on the agenda.  I was saddened in the aftermath of Synod 2022 to see so much name-calling, assigning of motives, and impugning.  Lots of things were said about people that simply were not true.  We will do best as a church if we determine to contest ideas, not people.  I appreciate Brandon's call for extending grace to those who will serve as delegates.  At the very least we ought to take seriously the words of Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 112:

Question: What is the aim of the ninth commandment?

Answer: That I never give false testimony against anyone, twist no one’s words, not gossip or slander, nor join in condemning anyone rashly or without a hearing. Rather, in court and everywhere else, I should avoid lying and deceit of every kind; these are the very devices the devil uses, and they would call down on me God’s intense wrath. I should love the truth, speak it candidly, and openly acknowledge it.  And I should do what I can to guard and advance my neighbor’s good name. (Empasis added)

It seems to me that Brandon is echoing the idea of guarding and advancing our neighbor's good name - a great reminder.

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