With Respect, I Disagree

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You present a profound argument

I was getting caught up in it and then there were these fatal words: "even as we struggle to come to terms with changing social and cultural and legal contexts, and live out faithfully new understandings of God’s grace moving in our denomination and in our world."

From the context of the above quote, my understanding is that you view the church as changing with/responding to the culture it finds itself in. That puts us at an even deeper conflict than the argument over homosexuality because I firmly believe the church's job in society is to stand in tension against it acting as its conscience.

I have spent several years listening to a myriad a voices within the UMC and I finally realized the reason this is such an acrimonious debate is because we are talking apples and oranges when it comes to basic understandings of why Methodism is in existence and the role it should it play. For you, it is about changing society by addressing social justice issues. For me, it is about individuals coming into a right relationship with God and being transformed into the person God created them to be--we are broken and only God can fix us.

One of the voices I spent a fair amount of time with is John Wesley and I learned there is an incomplete understanding of who he was, what he did and why he did what he did. For starters, he did not set out to establish Methodism, he did not set out to change the world or the church. The only thing he felt called to do was explore what it meant to live a holy life centered in God and that led him to unexpected places. You do not have to read very much of his writings to grasp that he was very much concerned with the individual living a life centered in God each and every day of their life regardless of/in spite of their worldly situation; everything else was secondary. And he did not pull any punches when it came to how broken we are; how far we have wandered from being the people God created us to be.

Shifting gears: You reference the need to change the wording in the Discipline. Have you ever stopped and thought that that decision has stood firm; that TEN times over FORTY years, the
General Conference, which is the only thing designated to speak for the church has spit out the exact same answer every time? What astounds me, is that appears to be absolutely meaningless on both sides of the argument. Is it possible that God would use the processes established by the church to guide the church? In the Book of Acts--which someone else dubbed the Acts of the Holy Spirit--when it came time to replace Judas, to give God an opportunity to have a say, they narrowed the choice down to two and then they rolled dice to determine who would become the 12th apostle. It only took them one roll of the dice and they accepted the answer and moved on. So why wouldn't the same God use the church's processes in the same way. And more importantly, why would we not expect him to?

Orter T. more than 2 years ago

Thank you

First, thank you, Orter T. for taking the time to read and respond to what I wrote. That is always encouraging. There is much food for thought here, yet it is your final paragraph upon which I would prefer to concentrate for the moment. To the argument that General Conference has affirmed the current language in the Discipline over the past 40 years is both true and irrelevant. We are living now in a time when sexual identity is less and less a marker of difference; my children are growing up in a generation in which, by and large, no one cares about sexual identity, and being gay or lesbian brings shrugs rather than condemnation. This has not been true over the previous 40 years. Thus the changing contexts I mention. The Discipline is neither doctrine, dogma, nor Holy Writ. It is Church Law, and that can and should change to reflect our changing perception of the ministries of the church. So, no matter how many times General Conference has affirmed the current language, that (a) does not make it any less discriminatory or dehumanizing; and (b) all it takes is one vote to change the language.
Thank you again, and blessings upon you in your on-going journey of faithful living.
Geoffrey Kruse-Safford

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford more than 2 years ago


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