Letters to the Editor: July/August 2014

Down the path

I am an orthodox Episcopalian. You are starting down the path we have trod. The revisionists in your church will never stop until they win. They will freely ignore all discipline until they are in control and then when they can make the rules they will make them in their favor and enforce them with a rod of iron. Don’t let them con you into trading the Scriptures for false unity.

You have my prayers.

Michael Berry

Via Web

 

Man and woman

Since the beginning of history in the Bible, man and woman are to be together and are the basis for the church (we are the “bride” of Christ”). I am ashamed to admit that I was complacent and unaware that the “governing” bodies of our denomination were marching at a stealthy pace to change the definition of spouse and marriage. My husband and I both contacted our pastor, who was seemingly unconcerned. Thank goodness I have searched the umc.org website and stumbled upon Good News. We plan to speak publicly in our congregation and monetarily support Good News! Either the second largest Protestant denomination stands by the Book of Discipline or it does not! This is one area that should not be compromised. The Constitution of the United States protects us all to practice our faith and if a split in The United Methodist Church is what is required for each to practice same, so be it. My prayers are that God will provide us with the strength in voices necessary to see us through these tumultuous times.

Elizabeth Clark

Via Web

 

The task ahead

My prayer is that we can effect a de facto split without one faction exercising the need to bury the other. The theological considerations appear duly obvious to me. I quake at the task ahead, for I fear a nasty bloodletting. Yet, Thy will be done, O Lord.

Mack McKinney

Via Web

 

What would Wesley do?

What would have John Wesley done if he were alive today? If we pursue this part of “Amicable Separation,” are we heading for two separate denominations bearing the same name or different names? What becomes of the investments of the “United Methodist Church”? What becomes of the Central Conferences, especially of Africa? May God’s plans and purposes for the people called United Methodists come to pass. Amen.

Jerry P. Kulah

Via Web

 

Repentant leaders

It is not that some sins are worse than others, it is the unrepentant sin that makes homosexuals unfit for leadership positions. I would take anyone who admits their sin, whatever it is, and repents any day as a leader. We all fall short, and it is not my place to judge, but when someone does not want to acknowledge what they are doing is sinful, and more than that insists that everyone else embrace it, that is where I draw the line.

Cynthia Sanchez

Via Web

Past due

I think a separation is way past due and cannot happen soon enough for me. The vocal minority among us has been guiding the perception of the church in a direction that is not true to what the majority of the church believes in and it is doing great harm to our true goals. They would have us believe that the Bible is flawed in respect to issues on sexuality. It is the word of God and it is either right or wrong. There is no grey area. God is not directing us that as morals decline that our understanding of the meaning of scripture should shift in a new direction. We as Methodist are led by the scriptures and the spirit. I do believe we should not exclude gays from our church – just from leadership positions in our church it is a sacred position of trust. Moral decay is a form of rot and rot can only be stopped by removing it before it spreads.

Daniel Niederhofer

Via Web

 

All the time

I like to think that I am always striving to be more like Jesus. More caring. More giving.

More loving. More forgiving.

Jesus tells us to love our neighbor. I believe that means to support them and help them. It does not mean to judge them or deny them any of their rights. Thinking has changed over the years on many topics that we can all name. It is time for thinking to change around this topic as well. Love your LGBT brothers and sisters. Let them live life to the fullest without persecution. It is time. God is good. All the time. We should also be good, all the time as well.

Rex Gordon

Via Web

 

Good News’ fault

As a person sitting in the pew, I am weary of this discussion. One of the things I have loved about the UM Church is being allowed to think for myself. So I sit in the pew with liberals and conservatives, and loving them all. But the Good News movement is very dividing and is now telling me how to believe about one issue, and further insisting if I don’t agree/believe the way you are telling me to then I am wrong and need to leave this church I have loved. And while I think both sides have been wrong in how they present themselves, I am laying the blame squarely at the feet of the Good News. When General Conference refused to pass even a statement that we don’t all agree, I realized this really is about power and the desire to tell us all how to believe. If I wanted to be told how to believe and what the Bible teaches without ever bothering to think for myself, I’d take myself over to the Baptist church.

Sue Ogden

Via Web

 

Black and white

Thank you for assuming the mantle of leadership in this vital and most divisive issue. I recently completed reading Adam Hamilton’s book, Seeing Gray in a Black and White World and now am just about finished with Bill Arnold’s book, Seeing Black and White in a Gray World. Dr. Arnold’s rebuttal of some of Adam Hamilton’s views has strengthened my personal stance and I fully support Good News and the task before them.

James Schott

Via Web

 

Boldness and love

We are very sad that it has come to this, but we are delighted to see some of our church leaders step out in boldness, yet in love, in an effort to bring about a resolution to the division that has existed in the UM Church for many years. We are very much committed to and believe in the authority of God’s Word. Many things in this world may change and evolve, but His Word is eternal. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and we pray that a solution can be achieved that will allow us to continue to be part of the UM Church. May God give great wisdom to these leaders as they pursue a harmonious solution.

W.L. and Lynda Hall

Via Web

 

My gay family

I have been a Methodist for more than 30 years. I was raised Baptist and gave my heart to the Lord at age 12. As a young adult, I joined the local Methodist Church so that my children would be raised in a loving congregation. I wanted to worship within my own community.

I am the lay leader, teach Sunday school, administrate a local food give away program for school children, and am UMW secretary. I am also the mother of a gay son and have a gay brother. Both my son and brother are in long term committed relationships. I thank God for the love in their lives. It hurts my heart to know that many Christians see them as perverted sinners. I want for them to be able to marry and be accepted by society and the church. I am quite sure that they did not “choose their lifestyles.” In my family, I also have a gay cousin, and three of my cousins have gay children. Anybody thinking “genetics” here? In my small church of about 120, three of us have gay children and another has a transgender child. One of our members had a gay child who committed suicide.

I am not judging opinions presented here, but it sickens me to have homosexuality compared to bestiality, child sexual molestation, or child pornography. I do not know what our church will do, but I personally have had enough of humankind deciding who is acceptable in God’s heart. Slavery was supported for years, because the Bible states that slaves should obey their masters. All I know for sure is that Jesus taught us to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbor as ourself. The Bible is open to interpretation. There are few absolutes but loving God and each other. Open hearts, open minds, open doors…oops, only if your sexuality is “normal.” Make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, but if you happen to be born gay, please don’t apply for discipleship in the United Methodist Church. I have no answers in how to come to middle ground on this issue. I do know that loving each other shouldn’t be this hard.

Kathie Lonh

Via Web

 

Painful and costly

Continuing to keep these divisive issues alive over these many years (since 1970 here in Texas) has been extremely painful and costly for the United Methodist Church. People have left the UM Church to join more openly orthodox or obviously progressive denominations. All parties have been deeply hurt by demonstrations, outcries, petitions, trials and the loss of integrity in those who defy the Book of Discipline over and over. Some have kept their progressive views and often lifestyles hidden until after their ordination and then expressed their “right” to protest and legislate this controversy into the ground. I have been privileged to attend two general conferences in my lifetime and was greatly disappointed about the amount of time, expense and effort that was put in by both sides of the orthodox and progressive parties of the UM Church. I was extremely hurt by how painful the discussions became. As a result the Conferences lost valuable time to be focused on the most important issue of the Great Commission.

I have always felt that our society today puts way too much emphasis on sexuality of all kinds, hence the lack of quality in motion pictures and television series available for healthy enjoyment. Society needs to hear all voices clearly speaking to both stances. Our church would be served best by facing with honesty and integrity the need to let all United Methodists choose their individual place to be in ministry based on what their conscience and theology are leading them to live out before the world. There has been too much rancor between those who want to move on and those who won’t budge until everyone agrees with their opinion only. Let’s stop lying to each other and ourselves and the world.

Yes, dividing will be painful, but we can demonstrate that it will end once and for all with a painful but honest division along lines of truth and integrity. Then we will have no more rancor over that issue again at conferences around the world, so we can get on with the eternal question of how lovingly we are building God’s kingdom here and how. We can still choose to support other justice and mercy issues together such as “Nothing but Nets,” etc., with more funds, time and energy to do God’s work in the future.

Mary Powell

Georgetown, Texas

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