A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The highest court in the United Methodist Church delivered two rulings. One re-defrocked Beth Stroud based on the ban on "self avowed, practicing homosexuals" in the ordained clergy. They also ruled that a Methodist minister was free to throw gay and lesbians out of his church. It's hard to see what is consistent in the use of their Book of Discipline, outside of the message that gay and lesbians are not welcome in the United Methodist Church.

9 Comments:

At 12:25 PM , Blogger Chris T. said...

Beautiful. Twenty more years and the UMC will be indistinguishable from the SBC.

 
At 1:20 PM , Blogger CK said...

Yeah--they aren't being consistent. Seems like so far, these cases haven't challenged the heart of the theological issue, though--but accepted the status quo and argued on technicalities (due process, wording etc.)

They need to, for the sake of everyone, have a knock-down drag out exegetical and theological fight.

Course I'm not Methodist, so maybe they are, or have, and I missed it.

 
At 7:26 AM , Blogger Bill Baar said...

Every Church needs rules on Marriage and Sexual practice for both Clergy and members.

If you don't like the rules, leave the Church.

It's not as though these are new rules.

Unless your willing to argue it should be a free-for-all, I think one should instead be thankful you live in a liberal society that allows Religous freedom and a choice of Churches and option to start your own.

 
At 11:15 AM , Blogger JAG said...

Bill,

Do you feel at all connected to a faith community? The nature of a properly functioning faith community is that people develop a strong bond to it, and it makes people less likely to just pack up and leave.

For many United Methodists, the church's long history of working for progressive civil rights issues, all the way back to John Wesely's work with the working class in England, is one of their favorite parts of the church. It was found on Jesus's message to reach out to the poor and the oppressed in your community. Obviously, GLBT folk are among the oppressed in our community today.

No one is arguing for a free for all. Religious doctrine is changable, and progressives are arguing to change it in the respected and established ways to do so.

 
At 2:49 PM , Blogger pb2uu said...

I bet I'm not the first to think of this in terms of "false advertising." The UMC has all those sweet "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" commercials. Guess it's not completely true...

 
At 10:33 AM , Blogger JAG said...

As with many churches in this country, the actual local congregations have a lot of power over what they can and can not do. Reconciling churches, ones which volutarily open themselves to queer folk can hardly by put up against more conservative Methodist churches, which have always (or at least for the last 10-15 years) been SBC-light.

People in Reconciling Methodist churches have worked long and hard to develop a record of tolerance and addeptance. Here in Chicago, some of the most prominent and community-active gay friendly churches are UMC.

 
At 7:08 AM , Blogger Bill Baar said...

John:
I've belonged to four faith communities as an adult. Two Unitarian-Universalist, One United Church of Christ, and one Catholic.

Currently belong to the UU society of Geneva Illinois.

Maybe I'm a religious wanderer. Gays welcomed in all of these Churches by the way. I think the hardest thing to do at all four would be to come out as Republican.

With regard to this comment, Obviously, GLBT folk are among the oppressed in our community today., well...I lived in Oak Park Illinois which has a very large GLBT community. They didn't strike me as the most oppressed at all. One could walk accross the street from Oak Park to one of the poorest communities in Illinois (the Austin neigborhood of Chicago).

The contrasts dramatic and few people crossed the street...Especially from Oak Park to Austin.

That's a very local observation but it's striking to grow up in an Irsih Catholic neigborhood in the 1960s were families of 6,7 up to 10 or 12 kids not uncommon living in three or four bedroom houses transition to a community of two gay men living in the same house and having to expand it because there isn't enough room... it's a striking transformation.

I don't want to see homosexuality recriminalized but I judge a culture on how it treats the vulnerable and that's usually Childrent....seldom two income adults.

 
At 5:18 PM , Anonymous Virginia said...

Bill,
It might be easy for a "religious wanderer" to stand outside the UMC and say "well if you don't agree with them, come join one of these faith communities I have found that will welcome you!" It's not that easy, though, for those of us who were baptized and raised in the UMC, confirmed in the UMC, served in the UMC, found our faith in the UMC, whose families continue to be active welcomed members of the UMC. The United Methodist Church is my heritage. It is the church in which several family members have served as pastors. It is the Wesleyan tradition that framed my understanding of the faith. That means something. Right now, I have had to leave the UMC to heal and I currently worship with a UCC congregation, but the UMC is still my home, and I can't just give up on it.

There are many in the UMC who disagree with these rulings. Why on earth should the church be a place where a majority rules and the rejected minority leaves? Could God ever work in a context like that? It is because of people who give up quickly and leave (yes, myself included) that scenarios such as the takeover of the SBC can occur.

 
At 10:28 AM , Blogger Bill Baar said...

God works in all contexts Virginia and faith never easy.

Your at odds with your Church and its teachings.

Instead of doing the hard thing and finding your own path to God, you ask others to turn their backs on centuries of tradition and doctrine. You ask them to do the hard thing.

Sometimes God wants use to do the hard things ourselves.

 

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