In addtion to the MCC Core Values (view here), the following guiding principles inform the work of the Theologies Team and the types of Holy Conversations we hope to encourage in local churches:
- “Priesthood of All Believers.” We believe that the work of theology belongs to the whole people of God and is not reserved for ordained professional ministers. Both lived experience and theological education are essential resources for this work.
- “Sacredness of the Body.” In many parts of Christian tradition, the body has been ignored and denigrated, while other parts of the tradition have been intentional about honoring the sacredness of embodiment. We are committed to re-integrating sexuality and other forms of physical experience with spirituality.
- “No Talking About Us without Us.” We aspire to include in our theological conversations the people most directly affected by the work we are doing. For example (and this is by no means a complete list), if we are talking about people of color, people of color will be participants in our conversation. If we are talking about HIV/AIDS, we will actively seek out the personal testimony of people infected/affected with HIV/AIDS. If we are talking about women, we will prioritize the information we hear from women about their lived experiences. If we are talking about transgender issues, we will include transgender persons in our conversation. If we are addressing the concerns of youth or the elderly, we will listen for the voices of children and youth, or older people.
- “Global Accountability.” We are a global movement. We will include people from around the world in our theological work. We are aware of the cultural and contextual nature of all theologies.
- “In the Margins, We are Blessed.” We learn from the Biblical story of salvation and our own experiences that God is profoundly present in the margins. We commit ourselves to being attentive to where the margins are as they shift according to history and context. We will be aware of the privileges granted to people based on race, sex, gender, and physical ability. We call ourselves to be accountable to the lived experience and needs of society’s most vulnerable and marginalized. The birth of MCC resulted directly from our marginalization as queer people, and our charisms as a movement flow from that experience.
- “Personal Ability and Responsibility.” As articulated in MCC’s strategic plan, “We believe in everyone’s holy privilege to work out their own salvation.” We seek to empower every person to engage in intentional theological reflection and discovery that flows from the reality of their own experience of the divine mystery. We will listen to and honor the convictions of one another, believing that we come to know more about God and God’s movement in the world through shared insights than conclusions made in isolation. The willingness to live and worship amidst the tensions of our differing theologies speaks to our desire to encounter the mystery of God and transcends the need to be “right.”
- “Respect for Theological Diversity.” MCC’s vision statement proclaims that “While we are a Christian church who follows Jesus, we respect those of other faith traditions and work together with them to free all those who are oppressed by hate, disregard, and violence.” We recognize and affirm that people have many different names for God and many different paths to God that are as true for them as ours are for us. This recognition does not require that we leave behind our own beliefs, identities, or commitments.
- “Theological and Practical Integration.” We understand that theology does not exist for its own sake. The fullest measure of our faithfulness lies in how well we put our theologies into practice through our ethical actions and in our relationships with ourselves and one another.