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No one wins

No one wins
Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

By Jessica Brodie

Shortly after General Conference ended, a friend who is gay reached out.

“I have no words,” he said. Pain, hurt, betrayal—none of them were strong enough, fitting enough.

On Twitter, my news feed contained photos of sobbing Christians, some escorted by police. “The church has told us they don’t want us here,” one message flicked across my screen.

My heart broke for my brothers and sisters—gay and straight and anywhere in between—in anguish now because The United Methodist Church, through its delegates to a special called session of General Conference, voted by a narrow margin to uphold its stance that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” (See article, here.)

I must clarify: the UMC did not vote to exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning/queer and intersex people from the church. It did vote that being a “self-avowed practicing homosexual” is not acceptable behavior for Christians and that the church cannot perform gay marriages or have “practicing” gay clergy.

Still, the message many are gleaning from what happened is one of rejection: The church doesn’t want us; who I am is not welcome here.

As Adam Hamilton, pastor of the largest UMC in the denomination, said in a meeting to UMC communicators the day after GC2019, “The message conveyed is that the Methodist Church in 2019 said once more ‘no’ to gay and lesbian people, and it feels like it’s rejected them.”

Friends, despite how many are hearing rejection, let’s all work to send a different message and narrative—one of God’s love and unity. I pray to cling to these truths:

One is that the UMC fervently believes “all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God.”

Second, people are hurting. Regardless of where you stand on this, acknowledge that pain. Reach out to people and show you care for them and value them. Work to foster relationships with people of a different perspective. Love each other. Tear down fences.

Third, understand the UMC is implored to welcome all people with radical hospitality.

Fourth, we have a mission in our denomination to make disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world. That comes first.

As our South Carolina Bishop Jonathan Holston has said, “It’s not a day to talk wins or losses. This is the church of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. We have to find a way to be God’s Kingdom.”

Amen, amen.

7 Comments

  • The headline for the article seems inconsistent with our Bishop’s comment, “It is not a day to talk wins and losses.”:

  • Sinners are still welcome.

  • Let’s focus on what unites us, not what divides us!

  • Who is God? Maybe an education of the bible might answer these feelings. I’ve always thought pastors, teacher and such were held to a higher level. What does it means that teachers will be judged more strictly. Is it because teachers/pastors have a greater influence over god’s people? What does the bible tell up? Do your homework and read it. In it are numerous warnings of man’s attempt to rule. And we again trying to replace the meaning of God’s word to suit today’s society. Try digging into the scriptures.
    Remember God’s ways are not ours. His sovereign and deity to choose and discipline is not in our pay scale. One day when we get to heaven one can ask these questions. On a side note; but it won’t matter! Maybe 1st Timothy 3: 2-13 can shed some light, for the mystery of godliness is great.

  • It really isn’t about accepting or not accepting homosexuality. It’s God’s Word that we need to accept. When we have a relationship with God, everything else falls into place.

  • The church that I loved is gone, and it is heartbreaking. How do we grow now? The young people we so desperately need and want to evangelize will never join a bigoted church. This is the biggest, most arrogant disaster this denomination has made since it split over slavery, and my guess is that years from now it will be viewed with as much disgust.

  • The outcome of GC2019 has merely reinforced the belief that has always been held by the UMC. I do not understand why some feel the church has abandoned them. Had the decision been otherwise, it is those of us who have always accepted the UMC Book of Discipline, who in fact would have been abandoned by their church. It is sad that many UMC leaders are presenting this to be otherwise.

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