Sunday, July 27, 2014

Human Sexuality and the Church

On the issue of human sexuality, we are a society that is very often divided. In the midst of this division, how we think about our sexuality is changing. The standard descriptions are being blurred, gay, straight, bisexuality, transexual, definitions are changing from hard set to softer lines. This understanding is one of exploring the depths of each of us, and who we are, not just as we have tried to define ourselves. In the past sexuality has been a mystery to be feared, boundaries set, rules of engagement established. We have divided ourselves into camps, and spent little times to understand one another.
This is all to our failing our understanding our complexity as a human and as a human race. This keeps us divided and perpetuates the ill will towards one another. I would like to imagine a world where we are free to be all God has created us to be, in the great diversity united in the common passion to create a world of peace and justice.
What does the future hold? I am not sure, but hope we can at least have a discussion, figure out how to heal the hate, and prejudice towards people of differing sexual orientation, so people can come out of the shadows and live in peace.
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/human-sexuality-homosexuality is the site where the conversation is going on in the United Methodist Church. You can join the conversation there, or on line, or with persons in the church community you belong.
Human sexuality is an issue that will not go away as people discover who they are, who they want to be in public, in a free and just society.  My hope is that we learn to accept one another and not blame the ills of society on the scapegoats of those who are different than us. We need to stop living in fear of who we are, how diverse we are, and come to join together to face the hard issues of life, to feed the hungry, to break the bonds of prejudice, to transform the world.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wedding of friends

“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man." Luke 6:22

I recently went to a wedding of two friends of mine who happen to be both women. Their service was held in the back yard of supporters of theirs and although it was small, the spirit was of celebration and joy. However, the words from Luke hit me like a lighting bolt  as they said their vows. I have listened to my friends stories of what it is like to interview for church positions and people ask, "What is your sexual orientation?'. Their ordination journey is similar to those who have a call from God to serve, and to make new disciples for Jesus Christ. They have done their work to educate and prepare themselves for this work. They have submitted themselves to the process of interviews, personality tests, and written manuscripts. Their call has been confirmed by those in authority. Yet, this simple question about sexual orientation is asked as though the sexual orientation of someone would then somehow void all the preparation and their call from God to be effective pastors.
Our United Methodist discipline calls on us to affirm the sacred worth of every being, as a child of God, yet we often fall into the trap of defining others by their sexual orientation, by the color of their skin, by the income they earn. We sin against God when we choose to believe that someone is less than, unworthy of being treated as a sacred child of God. And those who live outside the circle of unconditional love and acceptance live persecuted lives, feeling the hate and the anger daily. Yet in the midst of this reality two people, beautifully alive, servants of God, dare stand up and commit themselves to one another, and preach to us a word of love. They did so quietly, not to cause too many ripples, and this reflects who they are. I on the other hand would dare to stir the waters and challenge us to overcome any prejudice, any hatred, any sin with God's grace to welcome those who are persecuted, to offer them a place in our hearts.

Help me O God to melt away all that keeps me from loving unconditionally those you have created and hold dear, Amen

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sacred Beings

In the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline it states that we consider all persons as having sacred worth. This is more of what we are living into, than have established. Our church like many have those who want to be gatekeepers, keeping in certain people, and keeping out others. I wonder, how does God see us? Are the prisoners,  sex offenders,  homeless, LBGT, republicans, democrats, terrorists, soldiers, welcome or turned away?
I know my heart welcomes some more than others, I am sometimes appalled with how easily it is for me to judge, and to hold grudges towards those who I want to suffer for their sins. I want to throttle that motorist who needs to cut me and my fellow travelers off as we go down the freeway. I get passionate about those who do not look at those with learning disabilities with compassion and try to find ways to include them in life's activities such as school, church, scouts. I have a hard time with those who kidnap people and turn them into slaves.
So how can I reconcile my urge to punish with the words of Jesus, forgive them for they know not what they do? I don't think I can always, rather, I can look at these enemies of mine with eyes of compassion, holding them accountable for their sins, but trusting that God will work in me to bring them peace, not eternal damnation. Ah, such a messy world we live in, it would be much easier to be a gatekeeper than a peacemaker..