From: DrCrowe1@cs.com <DrCrowe1@cs.com>
Thanks for publishing my response. Last year, I spent 20 hours with a special committee of clergy and laypersons who addressed this subject. I found those in favor of homosexuality to hold to another view of Jesus, another Gospel and another view of love that is expressed as hate. I cannot view the separation of such people as the loss of family, but the differentiation of people who were really not of us although they came from our midst. I believe that the NT speaks of this as well.
From: Tom Eleazer <email@example.com>
I also feel Christ's grief at the events surrounding Jimmy Creech. As a gay man and an active Methodist, I understand this grief for a church now pushing away its children through exclusion and marginalization. I know that Jesus would not want this. I know that he mourns the decisions of the church to deny the blessings of the church to those whom God has created and continues to love unconditionally.
It is a sad thing...and it is a bad thing. Shame on you all.
From: Jeff Uhler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I want to thank you for expressing your feelings and the emotion of the trial. For too long, it seems, people on each side of the issue have looked at each other as if one of us was totally out of place. To realize that this is a "family member" and that the punishment, however right it is, is very painful for all United Methodists is an important understanding. I, too, hurt with the actions of Mr. Creech and the Church. I stand in favor of the verdict, but cry with the pain.
Thank you for your thoughts and feelings, Buck.
Your letter raises two issues.
First you wrote, "Sitting in the sanctuary, I felt a strong feeling of pain. I thought to myself, "Yes I agree with the verdict and the punishment, but why did it have to go so far?"
Second you wrote, "I believe the Christ was grieved yesterday and is still grieved in the wake of the before stated events."
It had to go so far because the rebellion had gone so far. Read the first three chapters of Revelation to remind yourself of how grieved Jesus is over churches who tolerate immorality. Read again the church discipline passages of the NT. Note again that Paul did not call the Corinthian's tolerance for the man living with his father's wife Christian love. Read also what the Book of Discipline has to say about the important balance between nurture and discipline.
The real issue here is one of living within biblical boundaries. Otherwise, The focus on empathy rather than on responsibility undercuts the church in two ways. First, it misguides us concerning the toxic nature of sin. Second, it leads us to feelings of helplessness and victim thinking. To focus on empathy rather than biblical boundaries leads us to focus too much on how hurt everyone feels rather than on the call to responsible living in Christ.
Thanks for writing your letter. It raises two important issues that lead us to see the importance of biblical differentiation that can maintain contact with people's feeling, but also be free to stand for God's truth in a manner not motivated by anger, a desire to control, or a wish for proving oneself.
I experienced saddness as well. Buck has helped me identify it. Jimmy Creech and the others have become for us the Jerusalem that Jesus laments because many will not be spared the desolation of final judgementand they were members of our religious family.
I am encouraged because there will be a time when we will no longer mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters who have rejected the Truth.
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