I was reviewing some of my earlier blogs and pulled some content from a post of April 2015. There are some other posts in which I have addressed this same-gender issue and like many of us in the pew I find the debate to be confusing and at times a collection of scripture verses that seek to justify the many different positions that are being offered. I would dispute the wisdom of making this a social issue with civil, gender or individual rights being the basis of our decision.
As a layman I often use different commentaries as I study the bible or prepare for a Sunday school lesson. There are several respected elders of the Methodist Church and many in key leadership positions who have given their “commentary” on the issue facing our church today. There are several outside organizations that seek to put their agenda before the church and influence the direction the Methodist Church chooses to address this issue.
Does the church accept same-gender relationships as being compatible with Christian teachings and is marriage to be defined as a joining together of a man and a woman? This is where I step from behind scripture and like many of us in the pew simply try to say what I believe. I believe that in any situation, intent, that core thought or reason which brings something into being is the defining principle and meaning of those things that creation has given life to. God’s words as written speaks to the creation of man and woman, the intent being that they be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and have dominion over all things. The creation of the sexes was God’s intent to populate the creation in the manner God chose. So the question of whether marriage is defined as being between man and woman, that was and is God’s intent.
This question of same-gender relationships has been a part of biblical writings from the earliest of times. The bible had different terms or words to describe such practices, none were favorable. Many people point out that Christ never made reference to such and I believe it may have been because The Father had decided that issue long before he sent his son to live among us. Jesus’ ministry was to reconcile God’s children with the Father. He spoke of love, forgiveness and seeking the will of the Father by repentance and holy living. Jesus would not have justified any perversion that separated us from our Father in heaven; even if the social norms of the day were changing. So I believe that such lifestyle is not compatible with Christian teachings. But…..I am very aware that Christian teachings have a habit of changing with the times. With that in mind I would like to change the compatible statement to read “not compatible with God’s will.” The determination of God and if you share my view of “intent” should not be decided by legislative stratagems and votes. Regardless of how you feel about all this there is still one other thing to be considered.
We know as Christians that God’s Grace is for all. How do we extend that loving grace to those whom we believe to be estranged from God because their life style is not compatible with God’s will? If there is to be any peace among us we must accept that God’s grace is available to all who seek it. We must allow God’s judgement, not ours to be decided by God not us. The question the Methodist church needs to ask and address is simply this. How do we as Christ did, eat with the tax collectors, go among the lepers, kneel in the dirt with the adulterous, and how do we go among those who because of sin are estranged from God or better yet how do we bring them among us without being caught up or enticed into the sin that holds them captive? How do we show this grace and love and not give the impression that what God found to be unacceptable is now acceptable?