IT’S TIME for General Conference to recognize officially
–that as a denomination we are deeply divided on issue of same-sex relationships;
–that there are earnest, faithful people on both sides of the issues;
–that on biblical, theological, and moral grounds, many of us have concluded that God is more interested in how we love our sexual partner (namely, that we do so in a faithful, mutually exclusive lifelong covenant) than in the gender of who it is we love;
–that “new occasions teach new duties; time makes ancient good uncouth,” that over time the Bible includes various sanctioned sexual relationships, and, therefore, that same-sex marriage can be a faithful expression of the biblical understanding of marriage for contemporary North American and European cultures, just as polygamy was recognized as such in the patriarchal era;
–that marriage for same-sex couples can be a means of sanctifying grace just as it is for heterosexual couples;
–that for many United Methodists, on biblical grounds, the Church’s blessing and inclusion of married same-sex couples goes to the heart of the gospel of grace, just as the inclusion of ‘sinners’ and ‘unclean’ persons did for Jesus, just as the inclusion of the Gentiles did for St. Paul, just as the inclusion of eunuchs did for Isaiah (56:3-4).
THEREFORE, IT’S TIME for General Conference, at the very least,
–to suspend the current Disciplinary prohibitions against same-sex marriages by our ministers in our churches so as to allow the denomination more space and time for discernment of God’s will, as local congregations and pastors try living into a new expressions of marriage without fear of punitive retribution;
–to adopt a “Gamaliel strategy” (Acts 5:33-40), whereby congregations like mine would be allowed to follow their conscience and deeply held conviction “that we must obey God rather than any human authority” (Acts 5:29) on the assumption that if what we are doing “is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, [The UMC] will not be able to overthrow it” (Acts 5:38-39).
Reconciling Ministries Network invites all Reconciling Communities to join together in worship on Sunday, May 1st to declare that “It’s Time” for The United Methodist Church to end its discrimination against LGBTQ persons. #ItsTime
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