This morning the General Conference of the United Methodist church voted down an amendment to its Book of Discipline regarding homosexuality. The General Conference meets every four years to discuss the life and direction of the entire church. The conference is the “voice” of the church, but there are some that do not agree with what’s coming out of its mouth. The Book of Discipline is the law of the church. It describes and details how each affiliated regional and local church is to function. The amendment under discussion would have “softened” or, in the view of others, “diluted” the churches stance on homosexuality. After the vote a demonstration of protest ensued. This protesters were asked to disperse, but disregarded the petition of the presiding bishop and the session was recessed until after lunch.
There are several issues here, none of which I will dwell on. I will phrase them in the form of questions.
- When did theological fidelity (on either side!) become equal to a lack of compassion?
- Why do those who disagree have to accuse each other of intellectual and personal bigotry?
- How are we ever going to have a conversation when we are screaming at each other about why we are right?
Love is not a right. It is a choice that we all have to learn to make individually. We can’t make people love us, which seems to be the intended desire of those that are promoting the homosexual position. We have to follow Jesus’ example here. Jesus called us to love our enemies and those that persecute us.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48, ESV)
If we do this then we prove God’s love in us and God’s love through us. Regardless of the side you are on, forcing someone else to love you on your terms will never work. Love them in and through the disagreement. Love them in and through the struggle to be heard. Love them in and through the journey until Jesus makes all things new.
I am sad about what took place. While I agree with the position upheld, I disagree with both sides of the issue because of the lack of love and compassion toward one another. For the better part of an hour a majority of what was shared on the twitter feed tended toward the selfish, dishonoring and in some cases idiotic. When we stop trying to be right against one another and we get right with God first and then one another, maybe, just maybe we can have a holy conversation about this issue.