I am a life long Methodist. I was a cradle Methodist and some day I shall be a grave Methodist. I have lived through the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and now the nascent 21rst century and I have preached and taught all over this church, and in Methodist contexts around the world. Divisions, factions, schisms upset me, as they result from fundamental failures in the church, sometimes even caused by a failure of the chief Christian virtue— love. Furthermore, I’m a Christian pacifist. I don’t like fighting, or words that are shots fired in anger. I have thought a lot and prayed about what I am saying in these posts, and I say them with a heavy heart. I do not say them lightly or merely as the retort of a person who is upset.
We have been debating homosexuality for the last half century and at almost every General Conference since I have been paying attention in the 60s and we have actually resolved this matter repeatedly— by once again affirming the traditional stance on fidelity in heterosexual marriage and celibacy in singleness. It’s not like the church hasn’t spoken clearly on this heated issue. It has. It’s just that a vocal minority has not liked the outcome.
But now, since we have ministers and even bishops increasingly unwilling to obey either what the Bible says about sexual behavior and marriage or what the UM Discipline says, or even what John Wesley himself says about celibacy in singleness, it is time for a change. It is time for those folks who insist that it’s a conscience issue for them in endorsing gay and lesbian behavior and marriage to move on.