UMC, Just NO.
After years of having hoped better of the United Methodist Church, it delivered a soul crushing blow to many many people, myself included, last week:
As I’m sure most of you have heard, at the UMC Convention last week, a vote was taken and it was agreed that same sex marriages would be banned and that ministers who are part of the LGBTQ community will not be welcomed. Steep “penalties” will be imposed for those performing weddings for same sex couples as well.
It is terribly ugly.
And my heart is just broken.
So, first, I want to share this link from John Pavlovitz as to why this whole “debate” about the place of the LGBTQ community in the church shouldn’t be happening in the first place and I would ask that everyone take a few minutes to read and understand it:
If you don’t read it, to summarize, it begins with:
Being gay is not a sin.
Neither is being lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
The Bible never claims that it is.
It really doesn’t.
Christians should stop saying it, because it’s killing people.
It’s the most reckless, wasteful, irresponsible misuse of religion; the most dangerous kind of stereotyping and license to discriminate — and it’s killing people who are made in the image of God.
And it ends with:
No, being LGBTQ is not a sin.
The sin, is the hatred that refuses to let go of that notion when evidence requires it.
So I hope y’all will take some time to read the guts of the article too, to understand more, but please know that this is firmly my belief as well. — Don’t email me, I won’t read it. — I just want to be clear from the get go — because I have several things I need to say about this statement General Conference has chosen to make.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
First, Jesus, at every opportunity, expanded his reach — welcomed more people, loved more people — he didn’t find ways to push them out (and I cannot think of anything less Christ-like than this treatment of the entire LGBTQ community).
From his treatment of women, to his interaction with a Samaritan, to his concern for the poor and the ill, to his placing enormous value on children in a society that didn’t value them at all, he pushed boundaries to be inclusive. Always inclusive.
He also clearly stated that THE GREATEST COMMANDMENTS are to love the Lord and love your neighbor. The. Greatest. So, clearly, love — the spirit of the law — is what matters.
Second, Jesus himself did not ever mention homosexuality. And, yes, that does matter. As President Jimmy Carter recently stated, “Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well known before Christ was born, and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things, He never said gay people should be condemned.” Simple enough.
Also, it just amazes me that the church is confused as to why young people are leaving in mass — but things like this? Sends messages of slamming doors and intolerance and unwelcome.
In a time when the suicide rate among teens who are part of the LGBTQ community is at a terrifying all time high, this is not the message the church should be sending. But it has done so, to its shame.
It is also not the message that the church should be sending to its ministers and seminarians who belong to the LGBTQ community. But, again, it has been done.
Finally, I was looking through Twitter at some of the responses to this vote, I wanted to share a few posts in particular that caught my eye.
First, there was this reminder that that church CAN adjust its thinking (and should). It did so on the matter of pastors who have been divorced (a matter Jesus DID address — but the church STILL adjusted its policy as a matter of compassion and decency). Still, when it comes to something that it has chosen to retain its prejudices regarding, it is going to cast people out:
Then there was this post — which powerfully speaks for itself:
And this terrible reminder about what this new “policy” is doing to real people. This is NOT of Jesus:
And there will be SO much of this. What else can be done by many of us? We wouldn’t participate in ANY other unjust system or organization — so it is imperative that we go elsewhere now that this has happened:
I really expected so much better, General Conference.