August 29, 2015

Methodist Protest Caucuses: “We Are Coming For the Institution”

Katy Kiser is a longtime United Methodist and freelance writer from Texas.

 

“We are Coming for the Institution, and like a mighty river, we will sweep it away with the might of our love,” said Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy at the close of her remarks at the “Gather at the River” conference held in San Antonio for progressive United Methodists.  The heavily LGTBQ-focused conference was sponsored by Reconciling Ministries Network and the Methodist Federation for Social Action.

Many in the United Methodist Church have been exploring ways to hold together two diametrically opposed views of human sexuality.  At General Conference 2012 the church defeated a proposal to agree to disagree on this divisive issue. Conservative orthodox believers who take the authority of Scripture very seriously were not willing to concede this disagreement as a mere matter of interpretation. Since that time any number of similar proposals have surfaced, some of which will be presented at General Conference 2016.  But the rhetoric at the gathering in San Antonio indicated at least as much opposition to compromise.

Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy condemned the institution of the UMC, which she described as having become so stagnant, “it seemed like all it is producing is flesh-eating mosquitoes.”  Saying there were times she can hardly stand to be in the swamp waters of the institution with the negativity buzzing around her, threatening to eat her alive.

She boldly declared, “I am a self-avowed practicing homosexual.” But she took deep umbrage with the term “practicing.”  She stated, “I am not practicing. I’m professional. And if the IRD or the rest of the groups are here, make sure you quote me on that please.”  And although she referred to her own sexual acts, she condemned the institution for reducing LGBTQ people “to our sexual acts.”

Tweedy said she had been hurt most by “the white moderates,” and what some call “the mushy Methodist middle.”  Tweedy very strongly condemned the institution, making clear her disdain for those who try to have it both ways.  She called out those who try to accommodate the LGTBQ agenda and yet maintain the institution at all costs by upholding the Discipline.  She decried those who say the church needs to stop focusing on politics and instead focus on ministry.

She ridiculed those who had ordained her “with a wink and a nod.”  Her favorite hypocrisy came from bishops who suggested guidelines for ministers who participate in same sex weddings, “You can say a prayer – read a scripture because those are not chargeable offenses.”  “These are crumbs,” she declared, “And I can’t live on crumbs.”

She condemned those who had brought formal complaints against her for her choice to violate our denomination’s explicit policies for clergy sexual behavior, complaining that “Suddenly our institution was gearing up to put an effective pastor, a compassionate minister, faithful wife and loving mother on trial thinking it was preserving itself.”  She also shared that she was told that if she denied being “practicing,” the complaint would go away.  Tweedy applauded all those who had performed same-sex marriages in defiance of the Discipline.  She boasted that as a result of their courage, suddenly trials had gone away.

But for all her disdain and condemnation of bishops, institutionalists, the accountability process, and the Methodist mushy middle, Tweedy declared that she and others like her did not intend to leave the United Methodist Church.  She said that it is their church, too, which they will not leave; but neither will they wait for the Discipline to be changed.

She boldly stated that they could not wait to be who they are and for their relationships to be celebrated in the churches where they “have worked as hard as anybody to build.”  The crowd laughed and cheered when Tweedy declared, she personally could not wait for General Conference 2080 to be her “authentic, self-avowed, practicing, professional lesbian self.”

She emphatically stated LGTBQ members will not accept a “no” vote in Portland. They will not back down, but will be prepared to take additional recourse.  She said, “The Civil Rights movement taught us to put pressure on the institution until it had no choice but to change.”  Tweedy called on her queer clergy brothers and sisters to stop supporting the ‘don’t ask; don’t tell’ policy implicit in the Discipline.  She called for a national clergy “coming out day” – a total coming out – not a one-foot-in-and-one-foot-out position of the institution.

Following her remarks, Bishop James Dorff of the Rio Texas Conference (within whose bounds this gathering took place) came to deliver a brief welcome.  A moderator acknowledged the pain in the room but requested the bishop be allowed to speak.  Nevertheless protest ensued.

In his remarks, Bishop Dorff chose to go much further than offering the greetings which bishops sometimes customarily give to such caucus gatherings in their areas.  He expressed support, however vaguely, for the gathered activists.  “It is not a fun time to be a bishop, but more importantly it is not a fun time to be LGTBQ in the church,” he said.  He expressed hope that “the Spirit of the Almighty God will continue to bless you, all of you, in your work and your mission.”

Then he declared that God wants a “fully inclusive” church.  He said, “I want to be a part of the journey.. I want you to know there are many bishops who wish to be a part of the journey to have a fully inclusive church.”  He specifically thanked Bishop Melvin Talbert for “all the work” he has done in his activism, and told Tweedy that he needed to hear what she had said.  He also apologized for disappointing some of the activists in some of his administrative duties, in apparent reference to the liberal outrage directed at him for his role in preventing the illegal ordination of a lesbian/transgendered activist in his conference.

But despite the cheers for some of his pandering comments, ultimately, none of this was good enough for the liberal caucuses.  When he first came to the front to speak, Bishop Dorff was escorted by Julie Todd, an activist with Amy DeLong’s “Love Prevails” protest group, who carried two posters, one of which said, “DORFF IS NOT A FRIEND TO LGBTQ PEOPLE.”  Immediately, seated individuals came up to fill the prayer rails at the front of the sanctuary, some with their mouths gagged and their hand bound.  Others held protest signs in the balcony for him to see.  At times in his talk, the bishop was shouted down and heckled.

Dorff had done little more than illustrate the hypocrisy that Tweedy had just condemned.

At “Gather at the River” there was no appreciation, only contempt for bishops who attempt to uphold the letter of Discipline while at the same time diminishing consequences for those who violate it. The orthodox conservatives and the LGTBQ community agree; there is no middle ground; there is no “third way.”  At the very least, the days of having it both ways, of coexistence, shared ministry, and accommodation appear to be numbered.  The Supreme Court decision to allow same sex marriage in all states has emboldened the LGTBQ movement in the church.  If Tweedy is correct that they will not back down or go away, then this forty-plus-year conflict is far from over and attempts to preserve unity at General Conference 2016 will be difficult, at best.


53 Responses to Methodist Protest Caucuses: “We Are Coming For the Institution”

  1. M Didaskalos says:

    Headline would more appropriately read: “Methodist LGBT Visigoths: ‘We Are Coming For the Institution'”

    “Just Christians” — http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=26-04-003-e

    . . . “There is no “homosexual voice within the Church,” for the homosexual’s conversion entails a choice—This, or That—the sin, or the Faith. He cannot have both, nor can the Church in any way accommodate the sin from which he has been cleansed. It is wholly and actively and vehemently against it as a destroyer of the souls it has been called to save. It labors among the saints only in the accomplishment of what has already been done in Christ: cleansing, sanctification, and justification in the Name of the Lord.” , , ,

    “The Church never can and never will give satisfaction—and the homosexualist knows it, for he knows the words against him are ineradicable—to the declared and impenitent homosexual, the person who, through an act of the vermiculate will, has identified his person with a sin, whether he demands acceptance of his sin through “love,” or vindication through identification of his perceived enemies as bigots. Whether he presents himself as an object of love or indignation, what he demands in either case is acceptance not of the person, but of the sin-bound and sin-defined person. He demands the declaration of spiritual authority that there is nothing objectively disordered about this binding of man to sin, and assurance that this monstrous amalgam can indeed enter the kingdom of heaven. This can never happen among Christians until they abandon Christianity, which is at war with every sin, and whose indelible constitution places all perversions of the perfect man at the muzzle of its canons.”

    • Vivian C Graham says:

      Okay. Science is waay ahead of you on this. Every form of sexual orientation is determined in the development of the brain before birth, during the first trimester. How do you not know this?

      Find me the verses that say that God knows us in the womb, He knows how each if our bones are knit together. Now tell me, do you think Satan develops the brain while God’s on a smoke break? God created all of us, every inch and every kind. Who are you to say He made a mistake by not creating every one to be just like you?

      Here’s a challenge: I defy you to find a single verse where Christ Himself mentions any word meaning sex or sexual practices. Not the Old Testament, not poor repressed Paul – Christ Himself.

      Also – “homosexualist”? Where did you find that word?

      Why do we have homosexuals? God only knows. My theory is it’s for the same reason we have people of every kind and culture: so we will learn to to take care of each other. So we will learn tolerance and compassion. So we will learn that our neighbor can be any kind, any face. So we will learn to live together in an increasingly crowded world. So we will learn His Love.

      So why have we Episcopalians opened the fullness of the Church to gays, lesbians and transgenders? Because it is in keeping with the path Christ showed us. Because it is the right thing to do.

      Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself. -Christ

      • M Didaskalos says:

        Homosexuality isn’t a genetics problem, it’s a sin problem, just as adultery and fornication are sin problems. James 1:13-15: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin [c]is accomplished, it brings forth death.

        God wouldn’t identify and proscribe a sin in the Bible without equipping us to withstand the temptations of that sin. 1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

        A Lutheran pastor testifies to God’s power and faithfulness in providing a way to resist homosexual sin: “My Struggle With Same-Sex Attraction” — http://pastorsstudy.org/news/my-struggle-with-same-sex-attraction.html

        The “science” on homosexuality thus far has been anything but objective science.

        Born That Way? Maybe Not: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/421112/born-way-maybe-not-david-french?target=author&tid=1048

        Identical twin studies prove homosexuality is not genetic: http://www.hollanddavis.com/?p=3647

        Jesus commended only one sexual relationship, that of a man and a woman in marriage. Matthew 19:4-6: And He [Jesus] answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

        Jesus condemned all other sexual relationships besides that of a man and woman in marriage when He said in Mark 7:21-23: “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart [not his genes], that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

        The Greek term for “sexual immorality” is “porneia,” which is translated [Thayer’s/Strong’s Old & New Testament Greek Concordance entry #4202 ] “illicit sexual intercourse: adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals, etc.” [ http://www.studylight.org/lexicons/greek/gwview.cgi?n=4202 ]

        Jesus didn’t say homosexuality and same sex marriage are wrong?: http://steadfastlutherans.org/2015/07/great-stuff-jesus-didnt-say-homosexuality-and-same-sex-marriage-are-wrong/

      • Noel Weymouth says:

        Jesus made some statements about sexuality that apply to all people, whatever their “orientation.” When he spoke about “lusting in your heart” (Matt 5:27-30), he was raising the command “You shall not commit adultery” to a higher plane, stating that sexual sin included not just overt acts, but also our inner thoughts. The gay obsession with porn would not meet Jesus’ approval. Also, Jesus clearly believed that marriage consisted of one man and one woman (Matt 19:4). Whenever you hear the accusation “Jesus said nothing about homosexuality,” one response is that he, an orthodox Jew, would have believed that homosexuality is a sin – and if he did not, why did the Gospels not record that? Silence proves nothing. If it was His intention to change people’s attitude toward homosexuals, the Holy Spirit neglected to remind that Gospel authors to write that down.

        Christians have always accepted the whole NT, including Paul’s epistles which are the oldest parts of the NT, and comprise 25% of it. A “non-Paul Christian” is an oxymoron.

      • John S. says:

        I was conceived in sin, I was born in sin. By your logic sin is therefore acceptable.

        BTW if Jesus is God every part of the Bible is from him. OT, “poor repressed Paul” are all from “Christ Himself”.

    • gitfiddler says:

      They’re coming for our children!

  2. Palamas says:

    So like your typical four-year-old, if they don’t get their way they are going to kick and scream and hold their breath until they turn blue so that they can destroy the toy that they hate but don’t want anyone else to play with.

    I’ve never seen “Arrested Development.” Is it about these people?

    • gitfiddler says:

      Yea, if you call homosexuality sin, they pitch a temper tantrum and start saying in a childish tone, “You’re being hatefull!” Grow up people.

  3. Namyriah says:

    As a former employee of the UM Board of Discipleship, I saw this kind of nonsense up close and ugly. What the activists want, ideally, would be a very large and very liberal church, with people packing into the pews because they are so impressed by this “inclusive” message. They haven’t gotten that (obviously), so they gladly settle for a very liberal but constantly shrinking church. “Love” in this religion is defined as “celebrate the sexual preferences of whichever group of people complain the loudest.” Why do people like this even stay in the church, since in practice they are agnostics or atheists? It’s about their favorite obsession: power. Drive the Christians away (the numbers do not lie) and retain the title to the property. It’s most definitely a hollow victory. and the UM will end up were the Episcs and UCC are today.

  4. Jeffrey Olah says:

    she condemned the institution for reducing LGBTQ people “to our sexual acts.” … what else does a same sex relationship have other than a sexual act because they can’t create a child like traditional biblical relationships

    • gitfiddler says:

      She is actually right. Homosexuality is more than just the sex act. Read Romans 1. It describes all the negative character traits of homosexuals, and from my experience, they fit perfectly.

      • Jeffrey Olah says:

        wrong…same sex relationships are all about the sex act because there is nothing else brought to the relationship or society

  5. This is what happens when you let non-Christians in as members and leaders.

  6. ConfessionPastor says:

    What strikes me is the fact that they want no part of discussing this. It’s their way or the highway. I thought the fundamentalist were the ones who wouldn’t listen, hmm? If you were wondering what would happen In Portland there you go. Protest, disruption, anarchy but no decorum or following that which we all profess to when ordained! It appears either change or we will try to take down the UMC. If it’s not our way it’s no way!?

  7. LeeRaleigh says:

    For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

  8. revdrgcharlessatterwhite says:

    Without Holiness no one shall see the Lord…

  9. Brad F says:

    These people don’t even have a clue what agape love is.

    • gitfiddler says:

      Yea really. It’s fine to love someone of the same sex, but you aren’t supposed to have sex with them! Come on people, it’s not rocket science.

  10. Vivian C Graham says:

    We in the Episcopal Church are experiencing a similar divide. The big difference is we also have the entire world Anglican Communion to judge us. Not fun.

    You described the bishop’s words as “pandering”, which suggests to me that you were listening with a closed mind from the start. Perhaps he deserved that.

    But the only way the two sides can come together, heal the Church and move on to a new future, is for you to talk. Persuade them, don’t bang their heads against the wall. The Church is racially inclusive and we have women priests. What makes you believe this will not be resolved as well?

    Give the bishop credit for addressing your group. That took courage. Give him credit for trying. Now move forward assuming he meant what he said. Perhaps someday soon he will.

    God bless you in your endeavors.

    • Namyriah says:

      Would you like some data on the percentage of racial minorities in the denominations? The Southern Baptists and Assemblies of God have higher percentages of blacks and Latinos that the Episcopalians do. Your problem is that you condone a lifestyle that is clearly condemned in the New Testament, and look what’s happened to you – the more “inclusive” you become, the faster you shrink.

      • Vivian C Graham says:

        You are correct, of course. And there are a lot of people working to change that. Actually, I was speaking more about segregation, but okay. One of the bishops in my diocese is black. That would not have happened if people like you hadn’t fought for it.
        Churches must grow in character as well as size, and the people of both our churches recognize that. I did not mean to imply that we are better. Rather I hoped to point out that missions such as yours have been successful in the past – and so will this one.
        And an observation. Two parties who refuse to speake to each other, who want everything and will not give an inch – well, they’re not going to get anywhere, are they?
        I wish you well in bringing your Church to genuine inclusivity. I hope mine will reach that place someday, as well.

        • Namyriah says:

          “I’m guessing by your not-so-veiled remark that you don’t care for people who are sexually different than you?” You guessed wrong. I do care about them, just as Jesus and the apostles did. Christians don’t tell people to cling to their sexual sins, we tell them to repent, just as we tell all sinners to repeat. Thousands of dead homosexuals in the cemeteries would still be alive if they turned to God and began a new life. I’ve had childhood friends who died in their 30s. I feel very strongly that I care more about homosexuals than you do. Compassion does not equal condoning. Condoning is about laziness – it’s easier to say “You’re fine just as you are” than “Friend, let go of your sins and turn to God.” If you don’t like the “repent” message, then you would not have liked Jesus and the apostles.

          Your remark about the black bishop is funny. As I said before, your denomination is whiter than most evangelical denominations. Does having black bishops attract more blacks to your church? Obviously not. The reason you boast about black bishops is it conceals the fact you’re predominantly a club for white liberals. In the meantime, blacks continue to flock to evangelical churches, including mine.

          “Missions toward inclusivity have been successful in the past.” No, they have never been successful. This is the big delusion of the religious left: you believe that saying something makes it true. You call yourselves “inclusive” and assume that ethnic minorities and others will flock to your churches – but they don’t.

          Episcopalians
          1960: 3.2 million
          2012: 1.8 million

          Assemblies of God
          1960: 508,000
          2009: 2,914,000

          Notice the gap?

          Also, percentage of whites:
          Episcopal, 92%
          Southern Baptist, 86%
          Assemblies of God, 84%

          “Too bad for you. You will have to pass the peace to lesbians, gays and transgenders – if you aren’t already.” Nope, not gonna happen. People like you aren’t going to browbeat me into condoning sin. My current denomination supports traditional marriage. If that changes, I’ll go elsewhere.

          You have the conceit and contempt of the religious left, which is why I left the United Methodists 30 years ago. They don’t care what is Christian, they care about what is trendy, and trendiness is a proven method to empty out the pews. You swapped “salvation” for “inclusivity” as the goal of the church, and it has gained you nothing.

          • wiffle says:

            Episcopal always tended towards a social club, unfortunately. Mentioning the few black bishops in the church as some sort of real goal, rather than making sure all bishops were sound, regardless of race is definitely part of that.

            I’m hoping that the next Pope comes from Africa, not because he’s black, but because African Bishops have a reputation for being old-school, orthodox Catholics. If that does happen I’m sure the liberal media will be thrilled with all the inclusivity of Catholics for about 30 seconds until he gives his first speech.

          • gitfiddler says:

            Yea, liberals tend to think that “third world” people are all crazy, lawless, perverts, which is why they think they like them. What racism! Surprise, surprise, most of them are very conservative, bible believing Christians.

          • Vivian C Graham says:

            Oh Gitfiddler. You are every bit as prejudiced, elitist and wrong as Whiffle. What do you know about liberals? Not much.

            Try contributing something positive to what is supposed to be an Ecumenical web site.

            It might surprise you to know that this liberal has lived in three emerging nations in Asia. By the way, the label “third world” went out with the Cold War.

          • Vivian C Graham says:

            Whoa, Wiffle, stop a moment to breathe! Had it occurred to you that you don’t know what you are talking about? There are Episcopalian churches all over the world. Yes, there are gorgeous monuments of churches in affluent neighborhoods and on lovely hills in capital cities. But there are just as many all over the world in poor villages, rural areas and slums.

            I mentioned my bishop. There are a lot more.places, and bishops, than my diocese. I bet if you looked at a photo of all the bishops who attended our recent General Convention, you eould be surprised. I’ll.try to find you one.

            By the way, Episcopalians do not have a Pope, and Catholics are not Episcopalians.

            Wiffle, you sound every bit as elitist as you claim Episcopalians are. Have I bashed Evangelicals, fundamentalists, Methodists, or any other church?

            Where is all your hatred coming from? I write about diversity and coming together to celebrate God – which is what Ecumenism is all about – and you talk about cold grey services. The Holy Spirit can move in any place, at any time, through tears and joy – all that’s required is an open heart to receive the glory of God.

          • wiffle says:

            Gee, thanks for the update on Episcopalians versus Catholics. ;p My Mother was raised Episcopalian and I went to Episcopalian Masses as a kid.

            And I don’t hate anyone. If anything I’m very sorry that the Episcopalian church has abandoned Christianity (at least some of it – there are dioceses that have broken way). CS Lewis belonged to the Church of England – if his Church still existed I might have been there.

          • gitfiddler says:

            And most of their “ministers” don’t even minister to hurting people, yet they will fight for the right of what is total perversion to exist in their church. We had a so-called minister at our church once that didn’t even believe in prayer! This problem really goes much deeper than just homosexuality. Most Methodist church’s don’t even preach salvation.

        • wiffle says:

          Diversity isn’t the goal of Christianity. Christianity helps restore human social order by giving a common set of values – ie, easing diversity.

          If you had to “fight” for a black bishop, the organization was not entirely successful in transmitting that common set of values.

          • Vivian C Graham says:

            Wiffle. I disagree strongly. When St Peter, St Paul and others set off to spread the Gospel, they spoke to rich and poor, slave and free, Jews and Gentiles. Gentiles included Romans and people of every country they passed through, plus any travelers or foreign residents. And there were fights between the early churches – some thought the Gospel was for Jews alone, others said Gentiles were okay as long as they were circumcised, some wanted men and women to worship separately, while other cultures disagreed … They drove St Paul up the wall with their arguments and divisions.

            As for my black bishop, he didn’t have to fight thanks to the Civil Rights movement. At that time, the Episcopal Church, along with other churches and institutions, mirrored society. There were black and white Episcopal congregations that did not mix, and black priests were not permitted to preach in white churches.

            Many of the same arguments against allowing black priests in white churches were used when women wanted to be ordained, and they are being used again now that gays, lesbians and transgenders are asking for the same rights.

            Those rights are about allowing those who are different the full measure, the full ministry of the Church. When a group is denied entry into the process of ordination, then that group is effectively being told they may receive the Sacraments of baptism and Holy Eucharis

          • wiffle says:

            The early Church struggled not at all with inclusion. Racism at the level of social institution is a relatively American issue that certain Churches struggled with, but not all.

            In the end, an excessive focus on “inclusivity” is simply to flip the coin of racism. Success is still measured in skin color, except now it’s black instead of white. The goal is gather God’s sheep, not count how many are black or white. And in the end, sheep aren’t really know for their diversity in either action or attitude.

            And while all are welcome at the Lord’s Table, the Lord asks us to behave in manner that will make us worthy to be there. Celebrating any behavior, especially those that are clear sins, is contrary to what the Lord commands and I personally believe to be His purpose.

          • Vivian C Graham says:

            It wasn’t about race then. It was about merging a diverse group of people. They had to change their thinking entirely. Jews had to learn to break bread with Gentiles. Rich people had to get used to sitting next to slaves, who had no real value as people, just free labor in the same way as a horse or a goat – except that animals cost more and slaves were disposable. Do you really think that went smoothly? St Paul spoke of problems and complaints in his letters.

            Inclusivity isn’t about counting heads, although there are people do that. Inclusivity is about welcoming, about drawing them in and making them part of the worship and the daily work of the church.

            The issue of blacks and whites has been fought and won. Oh, there’s still plenty of racism, but the next generation, people in their 30s, are the least prejudiced of any generation before them. That is enough to give us all hope, because these young people will teach that to their children, who will pass it on. It’ll take awhile, but it’ll happen. Racism is taught by other racists.

            I understand your views on homosexuality. I disagree, but I respect your faith.

            My mind was made up about homosexuality when brain scans showed that sexual preference is a matter of wiring in the brain, wiring that forms in the early part of fetal development. When I learned that, I asked myself if God could hate someone for being exactly how He created him. That’s why I have no problem with breaking bread with someone whose is sexually different.

            I don’t mind that people have different beliefs. I mind the bashing and the fear mongering.

          • wiffle says:

            The Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin. It’s clear in the Old Testament and the New. It turns out that there are very good reasons for that, which has to do with the general corrosive effects on character of repeated couplings of that type and for men, specifically, the spread of physical disease, which is true even to this day.

            God hard wired me to stress eat, but I assume that you’d council against it as habit as it’s not good for me, correct? I hope you wouldn’t fall back on “God made me this way” as justification for that, even if being overweight became suddenly fashionable.

            In the end, you’ve decided that Christianity means to support whatever behavior is popular or sympathetic at the time. But that’s not Christ. He gathers everyone so that they can find the path to God, which isn’t any old behavior we choice. Christianity is about embracing the warm fuzzies and the hard to swallow idea that our behavior matters and the path to God isn’t exactly what we’d choose.

          • Namyriah says:

            You’re all talk. You brag about “inclusion” and you’re a coffee klatsch for affluent white liberals. Not even a hint of resemblance between the apostles and today’s liberal clergy. That tacky Gene Robinson was total publicity wh0re. If he’s a Christian, Satan is a Christian.

            Keep beating the drum for “inclusion,” one day you’ll hold your General Convention in a booth at Denny’s, while the multi-ethnic Assembly of God adds another pastor to its staff. Black and Latino Christians want no part of your post-Christian club. The Episcopal clergy are as spiritually dead as the temple priests of Jesus’ day. There will be plenty of priests in hell, as Dante was aware.

        • AndrewDowling says:

          There is no “segregation” in evangelical churches, that’s the usual smear tactic, telling the “homophobes” that they are racists as well. There’s a lot more black evangelicals than black Episcopalians – in fact, there’s more black evangelicals than ALL Episcopalians.

          • Vivian C Graham says:

            Well, good for them, Andrew!

          • Vivian C Graham says:

            Ok. This is clearly not the place for me. Because I believe that if you’re going to use Leviticus to uphold your beliefs, than you have to accept all of Leviticus, not just the parts you like. That includes everything from women covering their hair and everyone only wearing natural fibers all the way to slavery, polygamy and beyond. If you’re going to be a literalist and prop the future of your soul on your faith, then be sure you know what that entails.
            If science is so evil that it cannot be right about homosexuality, then please, don’t put your trust in your doctor. The car you drive, the central heating you use, the machines you use to prepare your food – they all exist thanks to science. So do that polyester and rayon you’re wearing, the microfiber on your chair, and the hothouses used to grow the flowers and vegetables you buy.
            My point is, faith is a lot more complex. So is the Bible. So is God. God does not fit into the tiny little box you’re using. He could have made us dumb as posts and we’d be happily swinging through the trees with all the other apes. Instead He gave us brains, and He gave us reason.
            So reason your way out of why the only Old Testament law you follow is one that creates a breeding ground for hatred.
            The two Great Commandments. Well, right now, somewhere in the world or even America, one of our neighbors has beaten another man to death with his fists because he looked or sounded in some way different. Or because he dared to be in love with another man. A woman has to leave her husband, head into financial ruin with her children, because he gets to sleep anywhere he wants, and if she objects, her life is on the line. A clinic, which does not do abortions and never did, is being torched, along with all the records that would have proven they didn’t abort anyone. Someone decides the evil giant must die, so with a few friends and a phone, they create videos to prove the giant chops up babies. Strangely enough, only a handful of people care about the girls and boys, men and women, who are abducted each year and forced into the sex trade, in your town and across the globe. Some, not enough, people work to change homelessness, hunger, and illiteracy. Here’s an idea: take 1 month, just 1, and put your energy into solving those problems instead of being a part of spreading hatred. See if that changes your life, your faith, you.
            So you didn’t kill, torch or lie. But you are a part of the fuel that feeds the fire. If it weren’t for you, your friends, maybe that gay boy, or that girl who isn’t, wouldn’t be on life support. Without so many people shouting, “Crucify!” Jesus might not have died that day.
            Think about. Pray about it. Decide what the Two Great Commandments really mean to you, and what Jesus meant when he said “I was hungry and you didn’t feed me.” Pray about what you will say to God when he asks you, “Why did you do that?”
            That’s what you use to build your faith.

      • gitfiddler says:

        Yea, Episcopalians are ELITISTS. They don’t mix with lower classes or races. Besides, who wants to go to one of their dead, cold services anyway. Unsaved people don’t know how to judge what is sin and what isn’t. Also, Romans 1 says that homosexuality is caused by people worshiping the creature rather than the creator. The Episcopalians are very wealthy. Hmm, think they worship things, money? What hypocrites they are. They even allow the Bush’s to be members in good standing, but that’s another story.

  11. Gene says:

    “IF” love is the only basis for marriage…..is there ever to be any restrictions on it’s exercise?

  12. Gregg says:

    Interesting that they call themselves, “Reconciling Ministries,” and yet they vow to “sweep away the Institution” – that is the “church”. Nothing reconciling about that. It’s about violent overthrow.

  13. Carolyn Moore says:

    I am interested the understatement of your closing sentence, and do hope you meant it as a severe understatement. There is no unity now. The conflict is not just “far from over,” but heating up and leading us directly toward a forced choice. We will not leave General Conference with our existing institution in tact, whatever the vote, and every person will have to choose whether or not to be part of a new UMC. If the vote maintains our current Discipline, an open season of anarchy will ensue (and indeed, is already here), and the shingle on every church will reflect that new identity. If the vote somehow changes (though the international presence will likely prevent that), then every shingle will represent that change even if those inside the walls of many churches don’t want that. If we are not working toward a solution that allows maximum grace toward those who can’t stay, then we are not just naive, but lacking integrity. I agree with Sara Tweedy, that the institution as it now stands is weakened by the indecision and “mushy middle.” We are better served by a split than by this. How we get there will speak volumes about our maturity and ability to learn from others.

  14. gitfiddler says:

    Gays are always calling us mean. Do you think maybe some gays are cruel? I have known some very mean ones. They like to call us breeders because we have children.

    • Carlton Blaylock says:

      It simply shows their ignorance of God and His Word. Once we have done our best to educate them about God’s Word, then it is yup to the Holy Spirit to convict (convince) them to come to Jesus and believe in Him and H8s word. if they will not do this, then God says to leave them alone and their blindness will cause them to fall into a ditch.

  15. John S. says:

    “We are Coming for the Institution, and like a mighty river, we will sweep it away with the might of our love,

    We had to destroy the church to save it.

  16. admcd says:

    As usual, with the LGTBQ activists, they deny others what they have been demanding for themselves; the right to live their lives as they see fit. They are not satisfied with love and acceptance of them as persons, they insist that their homosexuality be celebrated by all, which includes the Methodist Church. They require we see their sexual proclivity as a gift from God, which the church can never do. Yes, as they are wont to say, Jesus ate and associated with sinners. Of course he did-he came to seek and to save the lost. His purpose was to bring them to new life in him, not celebrate what they were. I see no resolution to this matter short of splitting the church. This group is determined to get its way, regardless what it does to the church. Like a spoiled child demanding its own way, or else. They will again disrupt our General Conference and make it impossible to carry on the important work of the church of making disciples of Christ. The Bishops should not allow demonstrators on the floor of the Conference. Only elected delegates.

    • ray worsham says:

      The majority of North American and European Bishops are in favor of the apostate position, they will never stand up against the tide of sin attacking the UMC. Rather, they will continue to mollify it until it floods over the denomination. May God have mercy on them.

  17. Carlton Blaylock says:

    Sara Thompson Tweedy is not thinking straight and is simply condemning herself with God by claiming to be homosexual and condemning those who won’t condone her actions. She needs to remember that God is immutable (cannot change His mind) and therefore cannot change His Word (the Holy Bible).

    If Sara T. Tweedy is up on her Bible knowledge she will know that homosexuality is an abdominal sin by God’s Word and it is another abomination to teach others or encourage them to change the way others follow the Word of God or to condone others that do the same. .
    To me it would be much easier for Sara Tweedy and those of like mind and actions if they will not change their and those who follow in your actions to simply find their way to their own church outside the UMC Church and stop causing an upheaval in the Church of God, which is also another sin. They would not be sinning by attempting to corrupt others in the house of God. However, they must realize they would still be a daily abomination to God.
    Sara Tweedy and others of a like mind, please understand this: Even if the UMC did the things you would have them do it would still be an abomination to God and He would then come down with His wrath on the whole congregation of the UMC. What you do not understand is that you are not just fighting the UMC, YOU ARE FGHTING GOD and God never loses.

    Prayer: Father in heaven, please send the Holy Spirit to Sara Tweedy and all those who have a like mind. Please ask the Holy Spirit to bring calm on their spirits and show them the errors of their ways. I pray for the saving of their souls that they acknowledge those errors and follow God’s Word to the letter of His law.

    I pray for their souls that they may accept God’s Word and realize that His Word is inerrant and immutable.
    I pray that the UMC always follow the word of God to the letter of God’s Word.

    May God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Christianity be our guiding lights, our safety nets and our inspiration for loving happiness in all of His kingdom. Father Into Your hands I commend my spirit. Not my will but Yours be done. Please come Lord Jesus.

    I pray in Jesus sweet name and to His glory through the power of the Holy Spirit,

    Amen.

  18. Charles Horton says:

    “She said it is their church too.” Wrong, Ms. Tweedy. The church is neither yours nor theirs. Jesus said, “I will build my church.” The church is Jesus’ church – Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and forever – it’s HIS church. Jesus is immutable. This is why we Christians, followers of Jesus, rely on him: he gives stability and strength to all who obey him and his word, protecting us from the changing fads of the day, and guiding us in the straight and narrow way that Jesus describes. The Bible’s words are the same today as in Jesus’ day and Moses’ day. I hope you will seek the Jesus of the Bible instead of the one you want to invent to satisfy the lusts of your flesh. As he told several of the churches in Rev. 2 and 3 that had allowed sexual immorality seep in, “Repent!” so that you may be included in his glorious kingdom. Right now you are headed in the opposite direction. Dear Lord, give Ms. Tweedy ears to hear the many posters here who fear her loss of salvation.

  19. wtrunk123 says:

    Fine…you want it YOUR way and no other way, then why don’t the 2 to 5% of the population FORCE the other 95 to 98% of the church and the population at large to not only “accept” LBGTQ, but love it as well and never say a word against it. That is what you are in essence trying to force US to do: JUST SHUT UP AND ACCEPT IT. I’ll go find another church first honey! The Progressive Methodist way has just about run me out anyway. This will just send many more of us to another denomination or away from the whole politically charged churches at the least. So I hope you and the others in your “community” are willing to open those wallets because the Methodist’s like their apportionment’s to be paid. But so long as your intolerant way is upheld and you are happy with your results, the “heck” with the entire church and it’s more traditional, conservative members. Has anybody ever told you you are an intolerant “hetero”phobe against heterosexual persons? Because if not, then I am! I don’t care what anybody does in their bedrooms, just keep it out of my face, out of the workplace, but most especially, out of my church!!

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