Relationships First!

Marin Foundation

Imagine a world where all our choices are governed by how it impacts our relationships.  A world where politics, money, time commitments, job advancement, entertainment and all other endeavours were dependant upon how it impacted relationships.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a relationships first kind of world.

This is true for the church.  Sometimes theological agenda’s and opinions get in the way of relationships with one another.  If relationships are central to our interactions dehumanization of the other amidst disagreement would not happen.  It is possible to have disagreement and still hold respect for one another.

Unfortunately this has been the case with the church and the LGBTQ community.  The point is not to debate one side or the other.  The point is the church has dropped the ball in a big way in how it relates to this community.

But what if, grounded in our love of God, we take relationships seriously? 

By participating in the I’m Sorry Campaign created by the Marin Foundation two communities in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada did just that.  A small group from Hope Mennonite Church, and Little Flowers attended the Pride Winnipeg parade to simply apologize and ask for forgiveness for the often dehumanizing and ostracizing stance the church has taken toward the LGBTQ community.  (A beautiful story, read more about it here)

LF Pride Winnipeg

It was an act of humility.  It was an act of repentance.  It was an act of relationship.

This is a call for the church to take it’s relationships seriously.  This is call for the church to create ritual’s that facilitate healthy relationships with one another and with God.  This is a call to remember that merely saying sorry is not enough.

This is a call to repent, and participate in the will of God here on earth.

What does this look like for you?  What if you put relationships first?  How would things change?  How does this connect with the passage below?

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

Matthew 22:35-39


  1. Jamie Arpin-Ricci · June 5, 2012

    Thanks Chris!

  2. chris lenshyn · June 5, 2012

    Thanks for the example bro. Much appreciated!

  3. len1919 · June 5, 2012

    I’m not sure if Mark 12 supports relationships first, if by that we mean the horizontal relationships of neighbour, stranger – humanity. So I would reframe the question – what do our relationships look like when we love God with all our mind, heart and strength? Or — when Christ is our life, what changes about the way we do relationships in this world? Otherwise, I think we risk making humanity the center, when God is the center, a center that orders and re-orders everything.

    • chris lenshyn · June 5, 2012

      That is a helpful comment Len. Upon reflection it’s not completely clear, though as I wrote it was an operating assumption that love of God assumes love in relationship to neighbour. Though, paying attention to relationships above other things like money, job, etc… would be a beautiful thing. Particularly if we have God at the center.

      It is a fine line between God as center and humanity as center. Thanks for your words.

    • chris lenshyn · June 5, 2012

      Did a slight edit thanks to your comment. I appreciate it!

  4. David Warkentin · June 5, 2012

    Thought-provoking Christ, thanks!

    Having recently preached through the question, “What is the Gospel?”, I’ve realized part of the problem is that relationships – God’s creation intention of shalom – is an integral part of the gospel, not only a by-product or nice result. The good news is about God’s love for all people and like the Greatest Commandment, this gets expressed in how we live out the gospel in the world.

  5. David Warkentin · June 5, 2012

    Oops – “Chris” not “Christ” – don’t want to give you a Jesus-complex or anything!

    • chris lenshyn · June 5, 2012

      Ba hahahahahaha. Nice!

      Often relationships are a forgotten part of theologies! Thanks David.

  6. psychosiswar · June 5, 2012

    Lexington Pride is the end of the month… Wondering what my response will be…

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