A Church Is Rocked By a Divisive Homosexual Vote
The important thing is not the object of love, but the emotion itself. ~Gore Vidal (1925–2012)
The United Methodist Church appears to have taken a decisive step backwards. Although the conservatives among them feel affirmed, many others are saddened and disheartened by the General Conference’s recent vote to continue to maintain its traditional stance on homosexuality.
This traditional approach, even after four years of study, once again stands as policy. This means that all self-avowed practicing homosexuals are prohibited from serving as ministers, and it bans clergy from performing same-gender weddings, with toughened penalties for those who disobey.
For the conservative side, which includes many members outside of the USA who view the issue very conservatively, this decision was God’s will, and they believe it is consistent with their understanding of the Bible.
There are six admonishments in the Bible concerning homosexual activity, and our enemies are always throwing them up to us usually in a vicious way and very much out of context. What they don’t want us to remember is that there are 362 admonishments in the Bible concerning heterosexual activity. I don’t mean to imply by this that God doesn’t love straight people, only that they seem to require a great deal more supervision. ~Lynn Lavner
The more moderate folk see this decision as divisive for the church. There had been hopes that differences in sexual orientation would be seen as part of God’s creation and not outside it, and that all people could be embraced as God’s children.
One of the plans considered would have permitted individual churches, pastors, and regional conferences to make decisions regarding their stance on homosexuality and what would be allowed. Another plan was to remove language in the denomination’s Book of Discipline that excludes other-sexed people from full participation in the church.
This vote to uphold the traditional stance leaves many disillusioned and wounded. Healing and reconciliation is going to take a long time and much effort will be needed to keep the church from splintering.
Some of their pastors are now going to be forced to serve under conditions they don’t condone, and thus have their own sense of ministry put on the line. In addition, many churches have folks of diverse opinions in them, which means that individual churches are going to face some difficult times.
Why Should We Be Concerned?
Why address this one denomination’s public stance? It’s because all of us, churches and un-churched as well, will be a part of the fall-out. The United Methodist Church is the second largest Protestant church in the USA. All of us are going to know some Methodists, so you will undoubtedly come in contact with someone wrestling with this whole issue.
What About You?
So, my question to you is…What is your stance? What is your opinion about homosexuals serving as clergy? Are you in favor or against same-sex weddings? Do you think churches should be allowed to make some of these decisions themselves?
What surprises me is that many people have a very limited understanding of the issues involved. And don’t tell me you don’t know any gay people personally, since approximately one out of every ten persons is gay. How is it possible that someone believes stuff like this deluded guy!
The reason there’s so many gay people now is because it’s a chemical warfare operation, and I have the government documents where they said they’re going to encourage homosexuality with chemicals so that people don’t have children. Alex Jones
Be informed, for your own sake, and for those who may come to you for counsel or discussion.
Here are some books that will help you broaden your understanding:
UnClobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality by Colby Martin- Churches in America are experiencing an unprecedented fracturing due to their belief and attitude toward the LGBTQ community. Armed with only six passages in the Bible–often known as the “clobber passages”–the traditional Christian position has been one that stands against the full inclusion of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Unclobber reexamines each of those frequently quoted passages of Scripture, alternating with author Colby Martin’s own story of being fired from an evangelical megachurch when they discovered his stance on sexuality. UnClobber reexamines what the Bible says (and does not say) about homosexuality in such a way that breathes fresh life into outdated and inaccurate assumptions and interpretations.
Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl- Homosexuality in its myriad forms has been scientifically documented in more than 450 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and other animals worldwide. Biological Exuberance is the first comprehensive account of the subject, bringing together accurate, accessible, and non-sensationalized information. Drawing upon a rich body of zoological research spanning more than two centuries, Bruce Bagemihl shows that animals engage in all types of non-reproductive sexual behavior. For anyone who has ever doubted the ‘naturalness’ of homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered behaviors, this remarkable book, which demonstrates and celebrates the sexual diversity of life on earth, will surely lay those doubts to rest. The massive evidence of the wondrous complexity of sexuality in the natural world that Bagemihl has marshaled will inform, entertain, and persuade academic and lay readers alike. “By producing a work that is accessible to the general reader while engaging for the specialist, Bagemihl has accomplished a most extraordinary feat. In the tradition of the finest nonfiction, this is a book that will force us to reexamine who we are and what we believe.” -The Philadelphia Inquirer
The MisEducation Against Homosexuality in the Bible: “How the Church Got It Wrong!” by Rev. Gregory R. Smith- The MisEducation Against Homosexuality In The Bible is a reference book of biblical truths and untruths. What Would Jesus Do (WWJD) about homosexuality?,What did Jesus say about homosexuality?, Why would Jesus not have destroyed Sodom?,Was King James a homosexual?, Why anti-gay marriage is biblically weak?, How lesbians were portrayed incorrectly?, Words & Scriptures used incorrectly?, How the black church is repeating the behaviors of their former oppressors. How you “Desodomize” your way of thinking? Why you should take an active role in addressing religious institutional oppression? Internalized homophobia is more dangerous than institutional homophobia.
Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity by Gregory Coles- In an age where neither society nor the church knows what to do with gay Christians, Greg Coles tells his own story. Let’s make a deal, you and me. Let’s make promises to each other. I promise to tell you my story. The whole story. I’ll tell you what it’s like to belong nowhere. To know that much of my Christian family will forever consider me unnatural, dangerous, because of something that feels as involuntary as my eye color. And to know that much of the LGBTQ community that shares my experience as a sexual minority will disagree with the way I’ve chosen to interpret the call of Jesus, believing I’ve bought into a tragic, archaic ritual of self-hatred. “Simply fabulous. Wonderfully honest. Superbly written. Deeply inspiring in its powerful portrayal of one person’s struggle.” “To say this book is important is a painful understatement. It is the candid, moving, intensely personal story of a gay young man who wants to live his life under the authority of King Jesus and who refuses to accept the comforting answers proffered by different parts of the culture.
Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things – he never said that gay people should be condemned. Jimmy Carter