Skip to comments.General Conference Update, Friday
Posted on 05/04/2012 2:15:27 PM PDT by Bryanw92
Pain and Protest
For ten previous General Conferences (1972-2008), the issue of homosexuality has absorbed increased time and energy and caused deep division in the church. This General Conference was the tenth such time. Veterans of previous General Conferences come prepared for the drumbeats of protest, the rainbow stoles designating us vs. them, and the tears that accompany the vote of the General Conference.
Although we do not agree with those who would change United Methodism's stance on homosexuality, we do not take their tears lightly. It is grevious that General Conference has become a place of such pain and protest. The sorrow is profound and will not be healed easily. We know that the protesters and their supporters are hurt and upset at the direction, once again, that our denomination has taken. We do not celebrate in their pain.
Most would agree that the orchestrated protest is not what John Wesley had in mind when he spoke of holy conferencing. For first-time visitors, the experience can be overwhelming and dramatic. For many of the Central Conference delegates, it is difficult to comprehend. There were ceremonial arrests in Cleveland and a broken African communion chalice in Pittsburgh. In Fort Worth, it was the chalk outlines, a lesbian wedding in the park, and a funeral shroud over the communion table.
One need not be a sacramentalist to find it exasperating to see the elements of the Lord's Supper once again used as political theater. When well-known, inspirational hymns are sung as a means of promoting a gay-rights agenda, delegates and observers are placed in the undeniably strange position of singing along with a protest that they may not have supported or observing in silence.
Yet after numerous dialogues, at least two General Church study commissions, official study resources, dozens of convocations, piles of books, demonstrations and disruptions of the General Conference business, and extended impassioned debate, our denomination has consistently affirmed a holistic position that is pastoral and biblical, compassionate and redemptive.
United Methodism's statement is a balanced and nuanced position that affirms the "sacred worth" of all persons even while acknowledging that as Christians we cannot affirm every expression of human sexuality. After all, there are certain sexual practices that contradict biblical standards and as faithful disciples we must be willing to declare them to be incompatible with Christian teachings. The United Methodist position does that with mercy and grace.
To a watching world and local churches at home, it is a statement of ethical stability in an age of murky morality. It is a statement of theological honesty in an age of religious ambiguity. It is a prophetic statement to a world that offers no boundaries to sexual expression. To young people, our statement may provide a necessary guardrail to protect them from sexual brokenness.
The biblically prophetic message has always been more interested in truth and transformation than in consensus and conformity to mob-rule morality. What the world often finds excusable and acceptable, the church does not and cannot.
In the interest of reaffirming our stance on human sexuality, we must admit that we have not always shown love for those who struggle with same-sex attraction. In far too many of these highly-charged denominational gatherings, the temptation has been to view one another in the "us vs. them" mentality.
Sometimes our words and actions weighed heavier on "incompatible with Christian teaching" than on "persons of sacred worth." That was never our intent. Despite that, we apologize.
This is not to paper over legitimate differences of opinion that we have regarding sexual ethics, the authority of Scripture, and the role of boundaries in the UM Church. We probably will not change one another's minds. Nevertheless, we are grieved that what has been lost in the debate over homosexuality since 1972 is the potential for ministry to those who struggle with sexual brokenness.
Even though our denominational debates usually focus exclusively on homosexuality, United Methodism must begin to learn how to provide effective and compassionate ministry to all persons who struggle with their sexuality-whether it be heterosexual or homosexual.
We live in a hypersexualized culture and United Methodism must deal seriously-and here we are speaking to conservatives as well as liberals and moderates-with the crippling spiritual devastation that sexual brokenness brings into our local congregations. Many who sit next to us in our pews have been victimized by sexual abuse or by an unfaithful spouse. Others in our congregations struggle with promiscuity, are addicted to pornography, suffer with sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, are confused about their sexual identity, or wrestle with same-sex attractions. They all need to know that the United Methodist Church is prepared to minister to their needs. Right now, we are woefully ill-prepared.
In the midst of our sexual brokenness, the Bible says, "Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear!" (Isaiah 59:1)
The United Methodist Church was birthed as a Holy Spirit movement that believed in the power of God to transform the lives of all those who struggle with sin--homosexual or heterosexual. Through a biblical ministry of mercy and grace, we must be a church that welcomes the sexually broken and confused. We must be a church that stands with those who seek healing, wholeness, and holiness in their sexuality.
--This is the statement from Good News in the Friday morning Focus.
If you would like to receive an introductory issue of Good News free of charge, please request it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They gays are out to convert all the churches to their doctrines, regardless of the destruction they leave behind. They are wreckers, the very kind of person that Paul wrote about in his letter to the Corinthians.
>>Foreign missionaries may have to reconvert the pagans in the USA in future years
They already started. Korea and a couple African nations are sending missionaries to the US already.
>> They are wreckers, the very kind of person that Paul wrote about in his letter to the Corinthians.
Yeah. One of their favorites that got retweeted a zillion times Thursday was “UMC has been anti-gay for 40 years and membership has been on the decline for 40 years. Maybe we should try something different”.
I was reading that and thinking, I agree. Let’s just say NO to the gays and make a bold statement to the people of the world that perversions and people who define their existence by their favorite sin are no longer acceptable. How many good Methodists have moved on because of the threat of this issue destroying the church through apostasy over the last 4 decades?
Then, we can help them overcome their problem through outreach, or they can choose the PCUSA, ELCA, UCC, or any other gay-friendly church that they feel happy in.
Wesley was surely anti-gay, because in the 18th century the word gay, meant libertine.
He was anti-sin. He created his accountability groups and instructed the members to correct the behaviors of others in the group firmly but out of love. He didn’t believe in people sinning all week and then going to church on Sunday to listen to a fire and brimstone sermon, feel bad for a moment, and then go back to sinning.
Wesley did not set out to create a new denomination. He just wanted to turn his Anglican brothers and sisters towards a holistic Christian life.
A few years ago, I participated in a “Behavior-Based Safety Program” at work. As they were explaining it, I suddenly realized that it was just Methodism with some statistical record-keeping layered on top. It was a very successful program until management started trying to use it for discipline. I can see parallels with todays UMC.
Well, he took his remote cues from Catholic orders like the Franciscans. Francis and his first followers were laymen, seeking to live holy lives, and afterwards there was always Spiritual Franciscans who wanted the return to a simple rule. His immediate influence, of course, was the Moravian brethren. The big difference is the top down rule. Gays are very much in favor of this sort of thing, because this way a militant minority can fill the top offices and then dictate to the mere members.This is how they seized control of the Episcopal and other churches. But of course, everyone seems to overlook that the name is
>>Well, he took his remote cues from Catholic orders like the Franciscans. Francis and his first followers were laymen, seeking to live holy lives, and afterwards there was always Spiritual Franciscans who wanted the return to a simple rule.
I’m sure he took his real cues from the disciples and apostles themselves. The unintended consequence of Monasticism is that it takes the spiritual people out of the population and sets them on a pedastal, while allowing the average Christian to say, “Well, I’m just not cut out to live like a monk” so they can return to their earthly pursuits. Bonhoeffer writes about this quite a bit about this phenomenon in “The Cost of Discipleship”. You need your spiritual people acting as salt in your congregations and accountability groups and not chanting behind a wall.
Francis was not a monk. As for emulating the disciples, what is what Francis did —acting like the 72 that our Lord sent out with the bare essentials. The mendicant orders, the Franciscans and Dominicans were not popular, in part because the best and brightist flocked into the two orders. The friars were certainly never taken out of the population. There were all over the place, in town and country begging for a living and upsetting the local priests and bishops as much as the Wesleyans did. When the Dominicans secured St. Jacques in Paris and began to offer lectures, the faculty of the university went bananas. But the friars went from town to town armed with the Paris bible, which was small enough to fit into the pockets of their robes, using Scripture as the basis of their sermons. St. Bernardino in the 15th Ct, preached to thousands in the fields, Remind you of anyone?
So, if Wesley was emulating the 72 disciples and St Francis was emulating the 72 disciples, then the inspiration for both was probably the 72 disciples.
I’m not taking anything away from either. Both did God’s Work with divine inspiration.
Wesley was, in his way, trying to heal the break among Christians caused no little bit by the establishment of state churches. No wonder Christopher Dawson called him a founder of the American nation, even if he was politically a Tory.