Tag Archives: United Methodist Church

The Dichotomy of Religion

Making my  way through the labyrinth of differing philosophies is never easy in my family. My children are staunch conservatives in Christianity. I, on the other hand, am definitely a progressive liberal. Communication  can get quite tense as a result.

This was definitely apparent in the past couple weeks with the determination by the United  Methodist church to disavow gay priests and open sex marriage. It is so hard to keep your mind open when you are discussing  heated topics that cut so close to your heart.

I have found this subject to be quite painful to me even though I am not gay myself. But those I love our face this issue, at least some of them. And knowing what wonderful people they are makes for a painful reality.  I do not want to see these people in pain.

In talking to my children, where they see homosexuality is a sin, it is particularly difficult to pause my feelings when listening to their’s. Inside, I rage when I hear them speak.  And I wonder how we can ever get to a place of mutuality.

Knowing I am one day going to live with or near my children makes this particularly disturbing. I wonder how I could ever live with conservativism as a way of life. I have always been of a liberal bent . I disagreed with their father, and now I am disagreeing with them.

How we can possibly make peace with each other in the midst of such a wide disparity gives me pause. We get along so well, and our love for each other  is so deep.  I want nothing but the best for them in this world, but I also want what is best for me. Finding our way to each other and peaceful reconciliation seems impossible.

As humans, we are faced with this dichotomy in life. We want to get along, and do everything we can to try to, but still our inherent natures get in the way.  It is a matter that begs resolution, and I pray for it to be so.

At stake are no less than the Bible and Heaven. My children fear they will not see me there. I am not worried about it. I know I am a Christian and have made my way through the eye of the needle. Except for the nagging question of my liberalism.

Is God a conservative?  Does He/She really care?  Isn’t the goodness of a person what is most relevant?  Or is it Dogma that holds the most sway. I pray that isn’t so. God made our diversity.  It is for us to honor that, in the spirit of consilatory celebration.

In this world of manic opinions and rabid dictates, may we listen to John Lennon and give peace a chance, imagining our way to a mutually receptive viewpoint.

Homosexuality and the United Methodist Church

My soul is screaming

what once was now desecrated

the known ripped bare

shackles embrace me

no reason to soothe

the whirling in my brain

yet this isn’t happening to me

this huge event

that ripped asunder

the fabric of the institution

still, it speaks

to prevailing sentiment

beliefs I stand against

politics I abhor…

what is the Church then?

a voice of welcome no more

it casts out those not tolerated

leaving thousands upon thousands

gasping through their pain

their only recourse

to find a new home

if their faith

hasn’t been stilled

by this reckoning

of injustice

 

 

 

United Methodist Church vote on LGTBQ

This week at the annual conference, the United Methodist Church voted to disallow gay ministers and same-sex marriages.  The Church was clearly divided, conservatives versus liberals and the vote was 46% to 54% in favor of the conservatives.

It turns out there was a political agenda in sway.  The African and international Church is growing even as the American Church is aging and dwindling.  The African Church is finding itself in competition with Islam in attracting new members.  As Islam is very conservative, the African Church is finding it needs to be equally so, this in spite of the fact that culturally, in some areas, homosexuality is well established.  And since the international community stands at 36%, the Church voted to stand by them.  This is especially true as the African Church is funded by the Conservative body.

There are so many fine, good, Godly people impacted by this.  What does this say to those gays already married?  And those who were planning to be?  How about the gays who are members?  How can you freely worship in a church that discriminates against you?   What about those people who have studied and prepared for the ministry for many years, only to find their work is for naught?  I know the Bible says homosexuality is forbidden but times have changed.  We now know homosexuality is not a choice but something you are born with in most cases.  It is not a sin.

My heart breaks for the homosexuals within the Church and those homosexuals searching for a church to call home.  They deserve better.  Especially as so much of this is politically motivated. This decision, still waiting Judicial approval (may it not be supported), is not just.

Mission Work

Since I was 13, I have wanted to be a missionary.  I’ve felt a calling to work in third world countries, or wherever I was needed, for the betterment of others.  There’s also the growth I would experience,  something I wouldn’t want to pass up.

I’m being given the opportunity to help on an upcoming mission to Puerto Rico.  I still have yet to jump through the hoops but it looks favorable.  And if my skills don’t match up with this mission’s needs, there are other upcoming ones.  Being a mission volunteer is not the same as being a missionary.  Being a missionary means living in a particular location for months or years.  A mission volunteer provides service using particular skills for a week or two.

Also, there are missions that are two or more months long where you can work as a volunteer. This means I would be paying to be part of the experience.  Some of these missions definitely meet my skill set.  Working with children in orphanages, particularly children with special needs, is a natural fit.  I’ve worked with special needs kids in the past.  As a CNA, my skills might be useful in a medical arena. Working with the elderly, or teaching, are other avenues.

As someone who is a jack of all trades but master of none, I have learned many things which would be of help. There are many places where love is the main commodity, where compassion and a willingness to lend a hand with activities of daily living, homework, and hugs are more important than anything else.  This I can do.  As someone who chides herself on the lack of a specific career, this is something where my diversity of experiences actually helps.

The United Methodist New York Annual Conference has many opportunities available. My excitement about being able to finally give back is driving me forward.  If I do the legwork, this can surely happen.  My heart will be answered.

Conference Findings

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.