UM Evangelist: Pro-homosexuality Bishop Swenson's Response An Offense
From: Wesley firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2004 3:51 PM
Subject: Bishop swenson's statement & my response
Statement by Bishop Mary Ann Swenson re: Dammann trial.
Our history of Christian community, going back to the apostles, has always been marked by fear: fear of the Romans, fear of the Gentiles, fear between Catholics and Protestants, fear of African-Americans, fear of women voting in the life and processes of the church, and John Wesleyís fear that we would become a people weak and diluted in our faith. Today we fear the loss of certainty, of clear gender roles; we fear different definitions of what it means to be faithful, to be called, to be married. In all of these, we reveal our fear of the future. In fear, we cling to our pastónot the best of our heritage, but rather those things which justify our fear, not our growth.
I am not afraid of the future: I am confident that God is pressing on before us, calling us to become more completely the community of God. The trial of the Reverend Karen Dammann and the decisions of the jury are not a cause for fear or celebration or division: they are the result of our struggling to grow in faith, to move into Godís future. As long as we grow in our understanding of God and neighbor because of these events, then we reveal our openness to God. My prayer is that we continue to struggle in love, so that we might grow in faith.
I find this statement from Bishop Swenson to be quite offensive. To equate the indignation of the church over anarchy with fear of the future is ludicrous. Fear has nothing to do with this. The Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church has declared they will not be silent in the face of what they perceive to be bad law in our Discipline. Now that refusal to be silent has led to a very loud, in-your-face act of rebellion. Every Bishop in this church should be horrified over this and not making simplistic, spiritualized excuses for them. I donít cling to my past. I cling to my Lord and to a rich, time-tested heritage. I cling to 2000 years of faithful Christianity. I cling to the unchanging truth of His Word. Iíll take that any day over the shifting sands of cultural religiosity.
"You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil."
John 15:16 The Message
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