By Jessica Connor
On page 5 of this month’s Advocate, you’ll find point-counterpoint columns on one of the most divisive issues our United Methodist Church is facing today. Whether we’re talking about allowing a pastor to bar a gay parishioner from worship or allowing a gay clergy member to pastor a church, the millions of people comprising the UMC have strong and often polarized opinion about homosexuality.
We think the Advocate is the perfect place to voice those opinions – safely, respectfully, intelligently and prayerfully.
The Advocate’s mission is to communicate the message of the UMC and to connect United Methodists by independently reporting news, engaging readers and providing a forum for dialogue. Dialogue is critical to a healthy church, and we believe we can only grow stronger if we engage in dialogue about the issues we care about the most. Issues like homosexuality will not simply fade away in time, and when we can truly talk with each other, we can get to higher ground more quickly.
So many times, we dismiss a writer as being “of that camp,” liberal or conservative, and rush to judge their words without hearing what they have to say. We forget that, even as we feel divinely led to take a stand on our view of the issue, someone else feels equally as called to do the same about the other side.
People feel so strongly about the “sin” or “non-sin” issue of homosexuality that they issue ultimatums about resigning from the UMC if General Conference doesn’t vote the way they wish in 2012.
Just this month, the Advocate received a letter from a Sunday school class at a small church in our state threatening to cancel their subscriptions because we ran an article about the retired bishops’ call to end the ban on gay clergy.
But like it or not, divisive or not, we need to be talking about potentially divisive issues like homosexuality – not to be controversial, but to better unite as a church. We need readers who care passionately about issues and are willing to stand up for them: Those who question. Those who care. Those who challenge. Those who are willing to sign their name on a letter professing their feelings and convictions.
Our great UMC is more than the fight about homosexuality and religion. And we can learn to move beyond division and hurt when we safely dialogue within the pages of the Advocate.
Read the columns on page 5, and write a letter to the editor. Let your voice be heard.