Returning to Bishop Wilke’s article I was taken aback by this paragraph containing the words I have underlined.
So I began my own journey. I reached out to other families with homosexual members, and I listened to their stories of struggle in the church. And I began a more in-depth examination of the Scriptures that address the issue of homosexuality. You may be surprised to know I hadn’t fully done my homework here, but the truth is, if you have a big-picture grasp of the Bible as I do, then you will understand just how insignificant these few passages are. (Bishop Wilke)
As a layman my theological knowledge of scripture pales and most assuredly lacks much when compared to that of the Bishop. Throughout this whole issue, I always focused on scriptural integrity and never considered it a problem with those people. There are some things in this paragraph that deserve our attention. God created us with the best of intentions and from that day in the garden till now, we have excelled in not living up to them. From the article I understand that his daughter is living a very productive life of service to others and the church and remains to this day in a loving and faithful relationship and they as a family have learned to live with the constraints of the church and society. In the paragraph before he seeks to address the real concern of the issue facing the church.
I needed to reconcile my commitment to scriptural authority with loving and accepting my daughter. (Bishop Wilke)
To me scriptural authority is the one area that has been avoided as the church deals with this issue. It is for this reason that I disagree with the statement that anything of scripture in the Bible could be considered insignificant. I believe every word is of importance to the whole. My belief is shared by many people in the lay community. When it comes to the theological side of this issue I like many in the lay world find our simplistic interpretation of scripture inadequate to defend our belief. Theology is the study of religious faith, practice, and experience and the study of God and of God’s relation to the world and sometimes it does result in creating a systematic response to biblical translation as to meaning. Take note of what Bishop Wilke does here. He throws all that aside and turns to love and compassion and acknowledges the possibility that he needs to look at himself as well and then turns to scripture for direction. I have struggled with this blog, both last week and now, because of what is at stake here. There is something more important than the Methodist Church, or for that matter any denomination. Oh, how we have woven a web of confusion with the assistance of many different agendas and yet in all of this Bishop Wilke has found an important part of the Christian faith. From his article and in his words:
Again and again Jesus placed kindness and acceptance over custom and social norms. “Love one another,” he commanded, “as I have loved you.” He also emphasized hospitality: “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. And you will be blessed.”(Bishop Wilke)
So what have I learned from this journey? Bishop Wilke is right. It would be an injustice to split the church over this issue, in fact that is the easy way out. The real issue to me is that of living a holy life, as we have been commanded to do. What does living a holy life entail? While you work on that consider this. Sin separates us from God and that is not a debatable statement. There are many sins and man wrote that list through his disobedience to God. The Methodist Church welcomes everyone, OPEN DOORS, OPEN HEARTS, OPEN MINDS. I may not have them in proper order but the last one needs some work. I could continue to write about this article but it would only be redundant. From the Methodist Book of Discipline:
The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.
So is gluttony, drunkenness, adultery, cursing and a host of other things that can be found to be an abomination is God’s eye. The fact is that all sin separates us from God, and that can’t be said enough! Like it or not we are charged to bring people to Christ, all people. How can we minister to the sins among us if we turn people away? Who among us has the mind of God and to borrow from the words of our Lord, let him be the first to judge.
In conclusion…..The Church can legislate doctrine and church law but until it can change what’s in the people’s heart, it has failed. Until the leadership of the church can discern God’s will without social and cultural pressures of the day, it has failed. What would Jesus do? Well, I don’t think he would kick the can down the road again by taking the easy way out. It might be wise to take some time to consider Compassion, Love and The Authority of Scripture.
Life is Good