SCRIPTURE: Our Bishops have acknowledged what we have long known; Methodists and now United Methodists at times differ in our interpretations of Scripture. I have accepted the fact that some persons sincerely believed that Scripture justified the enslavement and segregation of blacks. And, that their justification was based on a misinterpretation of the “curse of Ham” in the book of Genesis. But when these persons considered the message of Jesus and the totality of Scripture, they no longer endorsed slavery nor racial segregation.

TRADITION: Traditions are changed when “new occasions” make old traditions “uncouth,” and more importantly when traditions violate our understandings of “the religion of Jesus” (Howard Thurman) and “The Beloved Community” (Martin Luther King). My great grandparents were demeaned by the “tradition of slavery” and my grandparents, parents and I were limited and restricted by “the tradition of the segregation of blacks.” United Methodists no longer observe these traditions, and most of us, probably not all of us, find it difficult to understand why/how these traditions ever existed.

EXPERIENCE: Hopefully the visibility of LGBTQI persons and married same sex couples at General Conference impacted those who believed that praying, singing, worshipping, decision-making and fellowshipping with those whose sexual practices according to the UMC Book of Discipline are “incompatible with Christian teaching” would corrupt their faith journeys, experienced just the opposite.

REASON: A quotation from the late Bishop Jack Tuell; “I must ask is it reasonable to believe that God would create some with an orientation toward the same gender, put within them the same strong drive of sexuality which is present within heterosexual persons, and then decree that such a drive is to be absolutely repressed and denied?”

(From his sermon; “DOING A NEW THING”; The United Methodist Church and Homosexuality; Text; “I am doing a new thing”, Isaiah 43: 19)

Featured photo courtesy of Kathleen Barry, UMNS
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