Sex and Religion | The United Methodist Church and the Issue of Sexuality

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.

  1. When did theological fidelity (on either side!) become equal to a lack of compassion?
  2. Why do those who disagree have to accuse each other of intellectual and personal bigotry?
  3. 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.

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The National Day of Prayer is Today

I found this short history of The National Day of Prayer.

It can be so easy at times to forget that prayer is the duty of every believer and follower of Jesus. While I cannot say that I do this like I should, I understand that the leaders of this country need the prayers of the people, but not for the reasons that you might think. Many times our prayers descend into  a kind of political jockeying with God. Here is the bottom line.

God is NOT interested in our politics.

As a matter of fact, God could care less about the political situations on this world. God is more interested in accomplishing his purposes through his people. Therefore, it is important for us, the children of God, to quit trying to get God to change the political situation due to some preference we might have. This could very easily descend into a rant, but I will keep myself from that!

My desire on this National Day of Prayer is this: That we as Christ followers would not pray for God to change the political situation or climate or whatever. I would like for us to pray that God would change the hearts of the politicians toward himself. I want my confidence to be in God, not in some man or woman that wants to represent “my interests.” The only one I trust with my interests is God.

And I want to leave it that way.

Prayer

Most Gracious God,

You are greater and more wonderful that any political system, philosophy or candidate. I pray that we, your people, would spend more time trusting you, rather than some elected official.

Father I pray, that as a follower of your Son, I would call out to you for the heart and soul of every member of Congress and every elected official. I ask that you would transform them and conform them into the image of your Son. Trusting in others for what only you can provide will lead us toward idolatry and hopelessness.

Help us to increase our trust in you. In Jesus name, Amen.