This past weekend I went to the United Methodist New York Annual Conference in Garden City, NY. Why they can’t call it the New York and Connecticut Conference I am questioning, but that’s another whole topic. This writing is about the issue of gays and transsexuals in the church.
This is my first conference. A lot of legislative activities go on during the course of the weekend. I was shocked to find out there is a profound division in the Church. It is hanging precariously on a thread regarding the LGBQ issue. The Biblical conservatives in the Church are demanding that LGBQ and other sexually different people, should not be allowed in the Church – whether it be marriage, ministers, or even in congregations. The Church might divide into two seperate denominations because of these matters.
The other, more Liberal persuasion believe we are all God’s children and everyone has the right to live their lives as they are meant to. Even the issue of whether Women should be pastors has been a loaded one in many denominations. The Catholics are also struggling to find their Center. Everything goes back to Leviticus and the apostle Paul. Two plus centuries ago.
This issue has come up in my own family, with my children believing conservatively and I believing a more liberal, inclusive approach to Christianity. This may rattle many cages, but I believe the LGBQ group brings more openness and diversity, obviously. But they also can bring fresh interpretations and vital ideas to congregations.
This may prevent me from getting into Heaven but I believe all have the right to worship openly. Jesus had all kinds of people, most being the underappreciated, displaced, rejected members of society, in his circle of influence and accomodation. Not once did I read in the Bible where someone was rejected. And Jesus had one whom he loved more than all of the rest….what does That even mean?
At the Conference, I saw quite a few gay and lesbian people. A couple were Pastors. Depending on the status of the vote in St. Louis in the Fall, what could that potentially mean for them. “Hey sorry, but you no longer are a minister, don’t have a job, and aren’t welcome to attend Church. ” What is that? How can you take people who are actively sharing their Faith and leading their congregations toward a more open, accepting view of the World, and throw them out like yesterday’s garbage?
My children do not consider me to be a true Christian. I’m not going to Heaven unless I radically change my belief system and values. I believe God is more accepting…that love is more important than orientation…that the most important thing you can do is Believe in Jesus Christ and the Trinity. I might not get to Heaven because I question sometimes whether Jesus was the son of God but I wouldn’t really want to be in a Heaven that draws lines, makes distinctions, rejects people because of who they are from the moment they are born.
I pray the Church remains whole in its entirety and those believing diversely get the opportunity to believe in diversity and inclusiveness, no matter the sex or orientation.