Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

"Incompatible with Christian Teaching"

The United Methodist General Conference which meets once every four years voted 517-416 to retain the language in its Book of Discipline--that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.

After a long and emotional debate, the 2008 General Conference voted April 30 to retain statements in the Social Principles that the “United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”

The final action replaced a “majority report” from a legislative committee, which called for recognition that “faithful and thoughtful people who have grappled with this issue deeply disagree with one another; yet all seek a faithful witness.” The assembly replaced the majority report by a 517-416 vote.
The right wing of the UMC is pretty clear, in answer to Bruce Reyes-Chow's question, "Can we agree to disagree?"

No.

Don't expect any different answer from the right wing of the PC(USA).


27 comments:

  1. Well, hey, I protest. I don't know if I"m hard-core "right wing." But, I"m definitely, an orthodox, evangelical Christian, and I have no problem with agreeing to disagree at all.

    To me, it makes total sense.

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  2. See, Grace, that is why I endorse you! : )

    Didn't the Methodist majority report seem to make more sense:

    “faithful and thoughtful people who have grappled with this issue deeply disagree with one another; yet all seek a faithful witness.”

    That, to me, is an orthodox statement. There is a great difference between orthodox and right wing.

    IMO, the orthodox did not carry the day at the UMC conference, but the right wing did.

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  3. IMO, the orthodox did not carry the day at the UMC conference, but the right wing did.

    Agreed. The majority was not huge, at 55%, considering the "importance" of the subject matter.

    It sounds to me like the orthodoxy may be moving to the center.

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  4. And Thank God! There are so many other issues that need the same amount of attention. We spend all of our time arguing about what to do with the gays, when we could be finding ways to fight the climate crisis, consumption gluttony, war, racism-the list really goes on and on. I was part of this fight in the ELCA. I, had to leave the ELCA for many reasons which I may blog about soon, but now that I am in the UCC I be gay and Christian and spend my time fighting for things that Jesus actually TALKED about.

    Agreeing to disagree is not the perfect solution. New problems will arise and it wont solve all of the current problems. However, I think it is a step in the right direction.

    (though I will be honest, there are many days where I would disagree and say separate but equal is neither separated nor equal)

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  5. Very sad. Good friends of ours decided this weekend to leave the UMC over this. They don't want their daughter brought up in that denomination. I can't say that I blame them.

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  6. I wonder if anyone has any sort of statistics of people who have left denominations because of the hetero issue.

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  7. I am sad to hear that Alan.

    JJ, as I remember Covenant Network (for Presbys) produced a documentary, Turning Points. Don't know about statistics but many stories of those who have left so they can do ministry elsewhere.

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  8. That is sad, Alan. And, even more sad if they end up not affilitating with any church at all. So many folks that leave become cut off from any community of faith.

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  9. Well, I'm sure they'll find some place more reasonable. They're looking at the UCC, I think. If it were just the two of them, I'm sure they'd stay in the UMC and fight. But, I totally agree with them, that the UMC isn't a denomination fit to raise children in. I'd say the same about the PCUSA, actually, but we don't have kids.

    Fortunately on their way out, my friends have written letters to their congregation, their pastor, their bishop, etc. So, at least people will know why they left, even if they don't care. (Actually their particular church was great, which makes the leaving that much more difficult.)

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  10. Something that we do need to bear in mind is the difference in governance between the UMC and PC(USA). In a lot of ways they're similar, but in a lot of ways they're different.

    As far as we're concerned, I think the answer to Bruce Reyes-Chow's question is "apparently not". IMO, the Peace Unity Purity Task Force Report and its accompanying AI was that attempt to "agree to disagree", and it was struck down by the PJC. Whether their ruling on Janie Spahr was a reaction to the criticism they got in February is up for debate, but the fact is that the church's last best hope for compromise died earlier this year. I hate to see it, but I think we've gotten to the breaking point.

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  11. I'm sorry to say that I'm feeling cranky this morning, so take this comment with a grain of salt, but, to play the devil's advocate here, I frankly find that there are certain people I feel no need to get along with.

    Imagine it is 1860. The church is divided on the issue of slavery. What would be your answer to the question of whether we can all just get along over whether blacks are fully human or not?

    In my opinion, when it comes to social justice issues, about fully including all human beings as God's children, there is no "getting along." Either you fully extend God's love to everyone, or you don't.

    This desire to keep everyone together regardless of differences is admirable in theory, but look what has happened in the case of the Anglican communion. The idiot Archbishop of Canterbury has, in his zeal to hold everyone together so they would "get along", has disinvited a gay American bishop from the Lambeth conference, has explicitly denied giving that selfsame bishop the right to even preach or given communion in England, and meanwhile all the bigots have been given a free reign to come to Lambeth. The result of trying to accomodate bigots in the same tent as inclusivists is that the bigots are accomodated while the victims are excluded.

    Is it really necessary to hold together that big tent at all costs?

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  12. Thanks for being cranky, Mystical!

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  14. Original post reads--in answer to Bruce Reyes-Chow's question, "Can we agree to disagree?"

    No.

    Don't expect any different answer from the right wing of the PC(USA).


    The only logical answer is actually "yes". They already agreed to disagree. Each side voted and they came up with 517 No votes to 416 Yes votes. How is that not agreeing to disagree? Because the GC majority voted No?

    Isn't that switching the questions i.e. disagreement doesn't mean to "agree to disagree"? In other words you'd have to agree that homosexuality is compatible in order to agree to disagree?

    IOW, how could you agree to disagree without agreeing that homosexuality is compatible with Scripture and should be taught as such? If you "agree to disagree" then anyone can teach homosexual compatibility. Almost sounds like Bruce is trying to trick them into agreeing with him.

    To compare voting No to accepting homosexual compatibility as analogous to a vote for slavery is a non-sequitir. Slavery violated the Second Great Commandment directly. Biblically speaking, you'd have to show how and why giving God's blessing to homosexuality is "loving your neighbor" when the Bible is clear that the loving thing to do would be to love them away from homosexuality by loving them while not affirming their sexuality.

    Last, you would have to show how affirming homosexuality as good would not itself violate the Second Great Commandment. Good luck.

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  15. Jim, I'll ignore the pedantry over the phrase "agree to disagree". You know what we mean by that. By the logic you support legalized abortion since a majority of commissioners to the General Assembly approved such a stance. That's actually what Reyes-Chow is talking about: a system where people are free to have very different views on a controversial subject, but not allowing it to become a barrier to ordination.

    To compare voting No to accepting homosexual compatibility as analogous to a vote for slavery is a non-sequitir. Slavery violated the Second Great Commandment directly. Biblically speaking, you'd have to show how and why giving God's blessing to homosexuality is "loving your neighbor" when the Bible is clear that the loving thing to do would be to love them away from homosexuality by loving them while not affirming their sexuality.

    Problems on two fronts. First, the Bible explicitly condones slavery in both old and new testaments. Paul even argues for the well-run household in which "slaves, obey your masters". What seems obvious to us today (thanks to a form of liberation theology), that slavery is immoral, was not obvious in 1861.

    Second, the Bible does not have any command to "love them away from homosexuality" (this seems an implicit endorsement for Crack Whores for Christ), SINCE THE BIBLE HAS NO CONCEPT OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION BECAUSE THE IDEA WASN'T AROUND WHEN IT WAS WRITTEN. The term "homosexuality" didn't exist until the 19th century.

    The Bible is VERY clear that those who are divorced and then remarry are committing adultery (this comes from Jesus himself--who else do you need as an authority?). Shall we "love" them out of positions of leadership in the church?

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  18. Fly---That's actually what Reyes-Chow is talking about: a system where people are free to have very different views on a controversial subject, but not allowing it to become a barrier to ordination.

    Which equals endorsement. Thanks for making my point.

    Fly---The Bible is VERY clear that those who are divorced and then remarry are committing adultery (this comes from Jesus himself--who else do you need as an authority?)

    Matthew 5 reads
    Divorce
    31"It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' 32But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

    You are incorrect, friend.

    Regarding "loving them out of leadership positions", is the oposite love or deference. if it is love, please explain why.

    Repeating, you would have to show how affirming homosexuality as good would not itself violate the Second Great Commandment. Good luck.

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  19. Thanks again for the Crack Whores for Christ link. :-)

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  20. "Which equals endorsement."

    I've never understood why some people seem to have this overwhelming need to make everything about them.

    My neighbor does a terrible job keeping up his lawn. It's all weeds basically. He keeps it mowed enough, I guess, but its still all weeds. Yet, apparently, because I don't go out and roto-till his bed of weeds, then I'm "endorsing" his bad lawn keeping skills (because we're neighbors people will naturally assume that I'm pro-dandelion. And, even though our lawn is immaculate, I guess people aren't clever enough to make the distinction. Well, I guess if I were making such an argument, I would be admitting that I can't make such a distinction either.)

    Faith communities as co-dependent relationships. Someone should write a thesis.

    How miserable a life would be where every decision anyone else makes is somehow your personal responsibility. See that guy over there who got vanilla instead of chocolate ice cream? Well now he's forcing me either to knock the cone out of his hands, or I'm "endorsing" his choice (because we live in the same town, you see, so people will automatically assume I agree with him.)

    I do wish it were possible to "agree to disagree" as I think the church is stronger with greater diversity of views. But, unfortunately, I don't think that such a position is possible for a great many folks. That is, the very people who want to leave are precisely those folks who believe that everyone else's business is theirs too.

    As Ann Landers would have said: MYOB.

    If we "agreed to disagree" would there be plenty of churches who would never, ever hire a gay minister? Sure. Just as there are plenty of churches in the PCUSA right this very minute who would never ever hire a woman or a person of color.

    Can I make them do so? No. Yet they're sure they should make our church hire only straight ministers. That is, using their own twisted logic, because I stay in the PCUSA, therefore I must endorse their twisted interpretations of Scripture.

    You know what? I don't. Gee that wasn't so hard, was it? LOL

    It used to be that Dana Carvey's character "The Church Lady" was just satirical humor. But today? Busybodies and fussbudgets. That's the church.

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  21. I don't want to get into a Scripture war, but why are you using a Bible verse that proves my point to say "you are incorrect"?

    Need more?

    "[Jesus] said to them, 'whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." (Mk 10.11-2)

    "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery." (Lk 16.18)

    "To the married I give this command—not I but the Lord—that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife." (1 Cor 7.10-1)

    Strange that we're the ones who get accused of ignoring the Bible.

    ---

    Regarding "loving them out of leadership positions", is the oposite [sic] love or deference. if it is love, please explain why.

    This first sentence makes no sense. Please clarify.

    Repeating, you would have to show how affirming homosexuality as good would not itself violate the Second Great Commandment. Good luck.

    I assume we're talking about "love your neighbor as yourself." The idea that telling someone that they are a beloved child of God regardless of who they are violates this commandment. I'm still perplexed by this "love is not love" argument. You need to explain it better. Good luck.


    BTW, I'll mail a check to NARAL/Pro-Choice America with the memo "In Honor of Jim Jordan, fervent abortion rights endorser."

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  22. Flycandler wrote---BTW, I'll mail a check to NARAL/Pro-Choice America with the memo "In Honor of Jim Jordan, fervent abortion rights endorser."

    Fly, that's a brilliant way to get me to be quiet. You could also desginate it for a white middle class baby so there would be less Jim Jordans in the future. ;-)

    I thought we were supposed to read the synoptic gospels as inclusive of all the material. So Matthew was wrong?
    Cheers.

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  23. So your method of exegesis is to look at parallel accounts in the synoptic Gospels and pick the one that gives you, Jim Jordan, a personal loophole for your personal history?


    You'll have to do better, Jim.

    And I'm still waiting to hear an explanation of the other, nonsensical "love is not love" argument.

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  24. a personal loophole for your personal history?

    I would never accuse anyone of doing that, Fly? wink wink

    So Matthew was wrong. I'll teach on that point next week.

    Love is not deference. That was my point.

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  25. Love is not deference. That was my point.

    And I still don't understand it. How is telling someone that they are bound for hell and excluded from the love of God due to something inherent in their nature LOVING them?

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  26. I'm telling you that you're bound for Hell and excluded from the love of God???

    You are clearly radicalizing your cause. There's nothing more to say to you than that on this thread.

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  27. Then please explain what you mean by "love is not deference" and that being gay is somehow not "compatible with Christian teaching".

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