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« Walking the Talk | Main | On a lighter note... »

October 31, 2005

Comments

Alan

If only people would follow the law of love as closely as they love the law.

NancyP

Too bad about both rulings.

As for the pastor refusing membership, clearly the whole membership ought to take a hike to some other congregation - on the basis of "church shouldn't be a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners". Heck, if W. can be a Methodist, ANYONE should be let in. Some guy schtupping another guy didn't start a war on false pretenses, after all.

I hope Stroud eventually migrates to UCC or MCC.

ck

Nancy,
Yes, I agree about the museum/hospital analogy--but what is at issue is whether homosexual activity is a sin to be repented of. If someone wants to obtain membership at a church and is openly, say, stealing lottery tickets each week, then it's legitimate for the pastor to say, "This is a time for you to repent openly." Likewise with adultery.

The parallel breaks down if same-sex relations are not sinful.

1) If the relationship is outside a committed partnership, then equal repentence should be sought for heterosexual non-celibacy outside of marriage. This is not the case, I would argue.
2) If the relationship is inside a committed partnership, then repentance shouldn't be a question--any more than it would be for heterosexual married couples.

As far as Stroud migrating--she's got a job as a lay pastor at the church, they are very supportive of her, and I think she'll want to fight this one from the inside. They haven't excommunicated her, after all--and this is the denomination she said feels like her home.

Brian

Closed minds.
Closed hearts.
Closed doors.

John G

The Methodist court was being consistent with the current laws of the UMC. Beth Stroud and friends were trying to finese their way through them and create loopholes.

The true path for change is to work on the ground, as Beth will be doing now. Leaving the UMC completely would waste a great opportunity to advocate for change. Leaving a particularly bigoted congregation, however, makes a lot of sense.

NancyP

Another fine example of my not communicating clearly. I don't think that the potential member is a sinner because of a committed relationship to a same-sex partner - only that by definition everyone has some sins of commission or omission, and will continue to commit sins of one sort or another until the day they die, even if they manage to get rid of the big sins. So, what's the big deal about admitting sinners to church? It doesn't mean the pastor can't advise the person to change. (And it doesn't mean that the person won't take a hike to some other church if what the pastor says doesn't ring true to their own understanding).

ck

Nancy--Gotcha. Sorry I misunderstood. I think that the theological reason for not admitting "unrepentant sinners" to a church is that their lack of repentance is evidence that they are unregenerate, and not truly Christians.

As I said, I'm not up on my Methodist theology, so I don't know exactly how they fence the table and define regenerate Christians--but that is the supposed reason.

You're right, however, about the double standard. I doubt (though I may be wrong) that a divorced heterosexual who is not trying to reunite with their spouse would be considered unrepentant--yet the strict reading of Christ's words on divorce is that it is only allowable for adultery, and even then, not the first option.

Thanks for clarifying, NancyP!

Jessica

Thats to bad I hope she turn out .ok. after al this is iver.

Donna Rowe

Here's a what-if question for anyone familiar with current Methodist theology.

If a lesbian minister in a state which permits civil union married her partner, if said minister committed herself to her partner in heart, soul and body, and THEN engaged in sexual activity with her partner, as heterosexual married couples do, would she be living in sin?

What I'm hearing is that a gay sexual orientation isn't a sin in the same sense that a desire to lie, cheat or steal isn't a sin. As long as you don't do it, then it isn't a sin.

If they do what straight people do, and it is considered a sin if they do it but not if a straight married couple does it, then how is that acceptance of GBLT people? Reverend Beth Stroud and Chris Paige do not have the same right to have their loving, *committed* relationship respected as holy as heterosexual couples do.

Of course, the UMC has the same right as any church to set down moral principles for its congregants, but please don't pretend that gays are truly accepted in the Methodist Church, because they're not.

P.S. I spent most of my youth and young adulthood thinking of myself as United Methodist, although I never officially joined, because that is the denomination in which I was raised. I'm not slamming the denomination. I have very warm feelings for the Methodists; it was a wonderful church in which to be raised. I'm just disappointed, is all.

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