I am having a hard time because I find myself resisting and unwilling to consider that which I do not believe was the intent of God, and I find that from where I sit in the pew there is little being said and that which is said is usually ignored. You can count the number of readers of this blog on one hand but it has become a way for me to express my faith, and the defense of it in a way that I hope does not offend. I shared with you the name of a book I am reading, “Finding Our Way: Love And Law In The United Methodist Church”. I have finished the book and I still feel the same way I did before I read it. To be fair to the book it is I believe one that all Methodists should read. It does not offer a solution to the same-gender issue currently sapping the energies, time and talent needed to answer the call but rather offers a number of paths we might follow to continue this conversation without further dividing the church. I am reading the book again because I believe the core question “what was God’s intent” will not be answered in endless debate and well intentioned compromise. I believe the change that is the goal of same-gender advocates is in direct conflict with God’s intent regarding marriage and sexual morality. While this book at first reading has not changed my mind, it has awakened in me a need to study and pray seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit and I am feeling led to explore another approach to this issue that I have yet to see come up.
Everything I have read or heard is about how should the Church and Church Law will deal with same-gender issues. There is another side, how do we in the pews deal with those people? Here is where being a Christian goes beyond Sunday and Wednesday, outside into a world of those people. Who are those people?
Mark 12 28 One of the legal experts heard their dispute and saw how well Jesus answered them. He came over and asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus replied, “The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, 30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength.31 The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”
Love thy neighbor of course is followed closely by the question “who is my neighbor?” We know the story from Luke 10 about the man who was beaten and robbed and left to die, and the exchange between Jesus and the legal expert. Jesus asks the question….36 What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?” and of course the answer…..37 Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Now ponder this….. “that whomsoever we have need to receive kindness from, and find ready to show us the kindness we need, we cannot but look upon as our neighbor; and therefore ought to look upon all those as such who need our kindness, and to show them kindness accordingly, though they be not of our own nation and religion.” Resource » Matthew Henry’s Commentary
The other side does not involve committees, panels, study groups or other means of searching for a path to understanding that will result in unity. The other side of this question lies with you and I, we in the pew. We are called to show kindness to all of God’s people. Guess what? To borrow a line from the old “Pogo” comic strip “those is us”. In the Methodist tradition all are welcome into God’s house and to the Lords table. Have we truly sought to offer kindness, mercy and love to those people? Or are we so wrapped up in “church law” that we have forgotten God’s Law. Next week I will look at God’s law. I encourage you to study, pray and seek the Holy Spirt in this matter. Get involved….I will be waiting here in the pew.