Last blog I shared with you our struggle over same- gender relationships which have progressed to the point of possibly creating a split in the United Methodist Church. I wrote of a book “Finding Our Way: Love and Law in The United Methodist Church” which I am now reading. The following is taken from that book and was written by Rueben P Job.
Or after forty- two years of trying to find our way on our own, does it really matter how we got where we are? Because we all know we are at an unhealthy place and a place we do not want to be. Today we are deeply pained to find ourselves in a church we dearly love that is severely wounded, divided, politicized, and draining energy and resources in our struggle over same- gender relationships to the neglect of our witness for Jesus Christ.”
Amen! Brother Job, well said and to the point! I too grow weary of this continuing debate, topic, discussion; I am at a loss as to exactly what to call it. It is indeed sapping the resources and time of clergy and laity that are needed to do the work of the Lord, the work that we as Christians have been called to do. I think the book seeks to address a subject that is long overdue and is casting a large shadow within our denomination. Whether it is a change of mind, procedure, rule or statement of position, change never comes easy. It is my view and a number of other folks in the pew that this change comes with too great a cost. This is from the Book of Discipline page 54.
“But even as they were fully committed to the principles of religious toleration and theological diversity, they were equally confident that there is a marrow of Christian truth that can be identified and that must be conserved.”
One of the definitions for marrow is, the inmost, best, or essential part. You see I believe our church has been high jacked as a means of legitimizing a social issue that clearly the church, as witnessed by God’s word should not be an arbitrator of, as God spoke to this from creation on. This issue has been decided. We, Christians, will never see a Godly resolution of this issue within the church as long as the debate is influenced by secular world norms and under the banner of civil rights. I submit to you that the essential part of this issue is God’s word.. To that I add this word . What was God’s intent as to man and woman and to marriage? I would not for a moment pretend to know God’s mind but I do feel I am reasonably educated enough to discern his intent. In this particular moment I believe it was very clear.
26 And God said Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
God said, not a committee, study group or highly educated theologians; male and female he created them and for what purpose? Verse 28 answers that. From Genesis on marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that to be God’s intent. Now the other issue from which this issue of same sex marriage came out of.
Leviticus 18 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God.
22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.
None of these words are from any other source than God. What was God’s intent? Could it have been I am the Lord your God, I am holy, so shall you be holy. This is what God expected from his people and does to this very day. I find that which you are asking the church to accept in the name of inclusiveness are things that God said to be an abomination in his sight have somehow become alright by today’s norms.Can you show me any other intent God may have envisioned? I believe this is about Holy Living, seeking to be in God’s presence. Next week I will share what our responsibilities are to God’s people. I will be waiting here in the pew.