December 3, 2012

UM Bishop for Same-Sex Ceremonies

Bishop Melvin Talbert

Bishop Melvin Talbert has announced his willingness to participate in same-sex ceremonies. (Photo credit: United Methodist General Conference)

By Bart Gingerich

At a recent conference, retired United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert expressed his willingness to participate in same-sex weddings.

The event was the Lake Junaluska Multicultural Conference 2012: Creating a Church for All People. Directed by the Kaleidoscope Institute, the meeting was November 29 – December 1 at the retreat center of United Methodism’s Southeast Jurisdiction, which was listed as a host. The Multicultural Conference opened with a Native American smudging ceremony that called for a cleansing from the “Great Spirit.”

Two United Methodist bishops spoke. Retired Bishop Linda Lee shared first. While she had been embroiled in the Amy DeLong same sex union trial as Wisconsin’s bishop, she will become Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s bishop-in-residence this coming March. To the Lake Junaluska audience, she enthused, “For you to meet together is to raise up humankind to a higher level.” She set out to combat institutional racism, which she described as “one of the most devastating and all-pervading problems of our time.” “Unhealthy and unholy relationships between people groups and cultures bring injustice throughout the world,” she instructed. Lee exposited on how Christ’s teachings profoundly disagree with any kind of racism. She concluded, “God loves you just the way you are…before you were born and loves you because He did not make any mistakes.”

Read the full story here.


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  • Ben Welliver

    I was an employee of the UM Board of Discipleship when Mel Talbert was its head. I learned that if there is any stupid and/or immoral idea floating around, count on Mel to give it his full backing. No credit to the UMs that they made this goofball a bishop.

    This will shock you: I’m no longer a UM.

  • Donnie

    I wish the UMC would do away with this ruse of “The Book of Discipline” The words printed therein mean nothing to most of its bishops. Worse yet, the denomination as a whole will not punish those bishops and pastors who stray from its teachings. Why not just do away with it and replace it with “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”? At least then there would be some honesty involved.

  • http://twitter.com/JAGibson3rd James Gibson (@JAGibson3rd)

    Mel Talbert? Is that old geezer still hanging around? I would have thought he had long since rode off into the sunset. But (like Ben, above) I am no longer a UM because of “bishops” like him, so I guess I’ve just been out of the loop for too long.

    • http://twitter.com/JAGibson3rd James Gibson (@JAGibson3rd)

      Correction: As currently laid out, Ben’s comment is below, not above. :-)

  • Eric Lytle

    Liberal church bureaucrats aren’t exactly known for having a sense of irony or of self-criticism. I find it amusing that at this same gathering they had bishops waxing compassionate-n-inclusive-n-tolerant over same-sex marriage, while this Bishop Linda Lee waxes righteous about the “unhealthy and unholy relationships” between racial groups. Funny that people like her can express such granite certainty about “holiness” when applied to groups, but they wouldn’t dream of suggesting that there might be “unhealthy and unholy relationships” between individuals. (And, let it be noted, that while “unholy” is defnitely up for debate, “unhealthy” has been pretty much verified–if you don’t believe it, look at what you pay for health insurance. People in unholy relationships require a lot of medical care.)
    Read the New Testament and notice something that is quite crucial to Christianity: while there is plenty of emphasis on community, and while Christianity is not by nature a solitary faith, the key thing is the individual and his relationship to God. So, if you enjoy sinning in your own life, you end up in a liberal church, where the only sins are at the collective level, and nothing an individual could ever do is “unholy” – well, except for criticizing a member of a DVG (designated victim group).

    “God loves you just the way you are.” Hey, if a UM bishop says it, that’s dogma, isn’t it? I just can’t quite square that Paul’s “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” but take your choice – nasty old patriarchal Paul, or a hip UM woman bishop.