Dear John Warrener,
I have seen you justify your slanted headlines before. You love to "spice things up"--trouble is you often lay yourself open to the charge of "bearing false witness." Don't think you can dress up a falsehood by calling it "spin". Don't tell me it's o.k. to lie because "the liberals do it"--You claim to be representing Christ--act like it. Christ is the way, THE TRUTH, and the life. Let's have a little truth from you, John.
Case in point. You are making the claim in one of your recent headlines that Rev. Mark Kemling had charges dismissed against him because he failed to show up at a hearing. Reading the article linked to your headline one finds no statement whatsoever to support this claim of yours. If you knew something about United Methodist polity, you would know that one does not get charges dropped against one by failing to show up for a hearing--so don't try it John, just in case you were getting ideas. Failure to show up at a hearing would likely make matters far worse.
So check your facts, John. You have a moral obligation to do so. If you can't prove that Mark Kemling failed to show up at a hearing, then you should publish a retraction promptly.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a Mighty God we serve!
Not only do we serve a mighty God, and not only do we serve a loving God, but He is loving because He is HOLY. His Word is expressly clear about His feelings on sin, including sexual sin.
This controversy about tolerating sin in the church and even celebrating particular sins as a "gift of God" should remind us of the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight" (Isaiah 5:20-21). The thing that grieves me the most in the body of Christ is not that we have sin in the ranks, but heresy in the leadership. God forgive us for letting things get so out of hand!
In John 8, we read of Jesus dealing with the woman caught in adultery. We must be clear in our understanding that Christ never EXCUSED the woman's sin; rather, our Lord FORGAVE her sin. We must have the mind and heart of our Lord when dealing with sinners, since we ourselves are merely sinners saved by grace. We must continue to love the sinner while hating the sin; but we MUST HATE THE SIN nonetheless.
Grace and Peace,
I think it's one of the most intolerable things The United Methodist Organization is doing letting all these people who perform same sex marriages and letting them have a part in the Church activities. The organization leaders most assuredly aren't reading their Bibles when they make these discussion's about homosexuality. It makes one ashamed to be a United Methodist member.
Minnie Short Sun Hill United Methodist Church Trustee.
From: Little.Tommy firstname.lastname@example.org
Get a life you bigots and leave me the hell alone.
I was born gay. That's the way God created me. I thank God every day that he did create me as a gay man because I truly enjoy life to the fullest.
HOW DARE YOU presume to know what I do behind the closed door of my bedroom, and the closed door to my house. Are you hiding under our bed or in our closet or what?
You bigoted, homophobic creeps are in fantasy land. You think you can wave your magic wand and make me strait. That is just as preposterous as me thinking I can sprinkle fairy dust on you and turn you all into flaming faggots like me.
The absolute best line in the Discipline is the prohibition against "Practicing Homosexuals." Well, I practice my homosexuality as often as possible. Several times a day sometimes.
But, I don't hate you. Not because I am supposed to not hate you, but just because I find hate an evil emotion and I push it out of my life whenever it rears its ugly head.
So, I will be praying for you that one day you listen to what God is saying to you about me. Girlfriend, wishing won't make anything so.
hug hug kiss kiss
Are you sure you are holy enough to be the self appointed overlords of God's church?
In response to Christianandgay
I read your letter and could see the pain and anger in your writing. Perhaps you do not realize that we abhor and reject any suggestion that those who have same gender attractions should be treated badly. We believe you deserve our love, concern, and respect. We stand against employment and housing discrimination and believe that any violence or intimidation directed toward you should not be tolerated and those who do such things should be prosecuted with the same vigor that all such criminal acts are prosecuted. Nobody should live in fear in our great nation.
Unfortunately you mistakenly assume that because we hold to biblical standards of morality that we are somehow in favor of violence and hatred. Not so. I believe that living together heterosexually is a sin. I believe spousal abuse is a sin. I believe that drug use is a sin. I believe that cigarette smoking hurts the body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I believe that abortion is a sin. I believe that capital punishment is a sin along with all forms of mercy killing. In fact there are a lot of things that I believe the Bible says is sinful yet I don't find those groups accusing me of promoting hatred and violence against them simply because we find their actions sinful. You are free to believe what you believe and I am more than willing to defend your right to believe it. And yes, we will all have to stand before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ and answer for our actions. I also believe that if I don't go to my brothers and sisters with same gender attractions and share with them the biblical witness concerning their actions that I will indeed be judged harshly and found wanting. I have agonized over this issue again and again seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I have always been led back to the Bible. Do you know what it says about your lifestyle? Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13, Romans 1:26-32, I Corinthians 6:9-11, I Timothy 1:10 It is those passages which determine my stand on the issue and which are binding on me for my faith and Christian practice. So what would Jesus say: "Go and sin no more." Jesus was very compassionate on repentant sinners as we see in the scriptures, but he was very sever on those who were not. He told us to "be perfect as of Father in heaven is perfect, enter on by the narrow gate, and pick up our cross and follow him".
So what are we fighting against? It isn't your rights and freedom to proclaim the acceptability of your lifestyle that is in jeopardy but our right to disagree with you. We are seeing more and more laws and rulings which were proclaimed as a means of protecting same gender attracted individuals from harm being used as weapons against those of us who believe differently. All we have to do it openly and publicly take a stand on this issue and the attacks are immediate and sever. All we are asking is that we be allowed to hold to our biblical beliefs and practice without threat of persecution and litigation. As Christians we are to be separate from the world so we realize that the world contains all kinds of ungodly things which we have to live with that surround us.
May God open both our eyes to the truth. If I am wrong than God show me that clearly and I will immediately change my position on this subject.
Rev. Kent L. Svendsen
My brothers and sisters,
To those who are responsible for this horrible thing -- this dark blot of fear, This Accountability Watch: I have to wonder if you really believe you are doing the work of Jesus Christ. Would the Lord Jesus Christ, as portrayed in the Gospels ever utter that sentence: "We are watching you" ?
No. That sounds much more consistent with the Religious Establishment of the day that was seeking a way to destroy Jesus Christ.
I can imagine the response i will get from this statement. And you can guise your homophobia in whatever way you want to answer ...the bottom line is that we will have not changed our positons....you will still believe you are right and i am wrong.
in my faith journey as a gay man .. i have seriously considered that possibility... that i might be wrong. i think most have struggled with that. it aint easy being gay when you have such hatred coming at you -- like the creators of this webpage hold in their hearts. but i have come to this point of grace where i know that god loves me and accepts me for who i am ... and that love is the greatest expression of god... and that love is realized in my committed relationship. i have wrestled with what it means to possibly be wrong. But have you? I don't need to hear you say yes ... but do you believe in your heart that you have struggled with the possibility of being dead wrong?
and what if you are wrong. You have harmed countless of souls. And on the day you stand before God, you will be accountable. It would be better for you to have tied a milestone around your neck and jumped into the sea then to have harmed one of these precious children of God.
i believe you are wrong --- and you will be accountable for every precious gay, lesbian bisexual, transgendered person who was beatened up .. killed ... or harmed in any way ... because of your homophobia. You indeed have blood on your hands.
We are watching you.
Strange ... I can't imagine the Lord Jesus Christ saying that.
I can hear hatred say that .... as they beat Matthew Shepherd and hung him to that fense post .... "We have been watching you, Matthew"... and then they gave him what they felt he deserved.
you may see yourself different. i don't. and many others see you as i do.
God have mercy on your souls because Matthew Shepherd and all the gay and lesbian saints are watching you.
Thank God for United Methodists who are willing to take a stand for love and justice in this world.
From: Michael L. Gonzalez GonzoML@concentric.net
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2000 12:36 PM
Laura, in the United States of America we have freedom of religion, and you have the freedom to believe in any god that you wish. Don't you understand that members of the UMC have the right to freedom of religion as well? The Methodist tradition has held to doctrine (read it in the Book of Discipline) for about 200 years, and here you are trying to change that. Aren't you trying to infringe on the freedom of religion of United Methodists?
Since you have a motivation to study and use your brain to its fullest extent, you should study the complete writings of John Wesley, because you'll find that you are NOT consistent in your beliefs with either John Wesley or the Methodist tradition. Here's a website with the writings of John Wesley http://wesley.nnu.edu/ and you can read all about him without commentary by me or any of your friends. Read this and decide for yourself if you are in sync with Wesley or divergent to him. I'll give you one hint: Wesley was extremely clear that Scripture trumps tradition, experience, and reason. He used Scripture as the test of the other three.
Make no mistake about it Laura, you and your friends are trying to change the Methodist tradition. You pick and choose only parts of John Wesley and so you create an imaginary John Wesley--one who never existed. John Wesley was an inerrantist. Read the following from Wesley's Works Vol. III ( 1991 edition) Page 251:
Thursday, June 5th, 1766 in the city of Dundee
The sum of what I spoke was this:
`Therefore, 1. I always use a short private prayer, when I attend the
public service of God. Do not you? Why do you not? Is not this
according to the Bible?'
Laura, I can already guess your next response: "Yes, but John Wesley also said . . . . " Don't you see that such of your picking and choosing changes John Wesley? You want to discard John Wesley when he disagrees with you. In my brain, I try to understand John Wesley in his entirety, for the person he TRULY was, and not some fabrication that I'd rather have. John Wesley said that he was a Bible-bigot; can it not be more clear? I assume this is your next response: "Yes, but if John Wesley had the understanding that we have today of . . . . then he would have agreed with us, and . . . " Please understand, John Wesley was a human being who lived, who espoused Christianity as God inspired him to do, and then he died. You cannot re-create John Wesley after his death. Go ahead and exercise your freedom to create a religion based on only parts of John Wesley, but don't then try to lie and fool people into believing that your new religion is based on John Wesley--please try to be honest.
In the same way as you try to re-create John Wesley, you also try to create a god that is not the God of the Bible by your picking and choosing of what parts of the Bible to believe. You have every right in this country to create any religion that you wish, but understand that this would NOT be Christianity in the tradition of Methodism or hardly any other protestant tradition in the few hundred years after the reformation.
Create any religion you want, but please refrain from FORCING you beliefs on the United Methodist Church.
Now, I assume you want me to respond to your questions:
Speaking of "patience and careful analysis" why don't you read the complete works of John Wesley, study the theological writings of conservative Bible inerrantists, and then study the Bible in the light of both of these? This may take a lifetime, but if you have patience and use careful analysis, I have faith that God will lead you to a faith like so many Christians of whom you wish to criticize as non-thinkers. Let me tell you, I have come to my faith in God through patience and careful analysis in my middle age, rather than it being indoctrinated in me by my friends, or blind faith.
You and so many of your friends (including a "favorite" UMC bishop of mine) say that it is idolatry to "worship the Bible." If you could get past your doubts in God and spent the time necessary in study and prayer (and spending time in a group of traditional Christians), then you'd have faith that the Bible is the Word of God, and thus this concern for idolatry in "worshiping the Bible" would be dismissed. (By the way, you should read the UMC doctrine which clearly states this--and by the way, the UMC doctrine cannot be changed via a UMC General Conference--that's the rules of the UMC--you're truly beating your head against a wall trying to change the UMC.)
You seem to think that Christianity is supposed to be complex, and I guess that that's why you think that you have to be extremely scholarly in order to be a Christian. On the contrary, Christianity is extremely simple to understand: God so loved the world, that he sent Jesus to earth through the virgin birth so that He (the God-head) personally experienced being 100% human with us, and thus we can trust in Him to know our pains, etc. (through our prayers), and Christ was crucified to complete the sacrificial atonement (thus finishing the work of the worldly priests of Levi to whom the Jews clinged for forgiveness) which ended the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, and also to show the way to eternal life with God through the resurrection, and He has given us the Holy Spirit (the third person of the Trinity) to guide us daily through our earthly lives.
The concepts of Christianity are so simple that virtually any person on earth can comprehend Christianity, and thus will be saved to eternal life with the Father.
The complexity of Christianity comes into play when a person needs to be "convinced" of the Truth. Thus scholarly people are important to Christianity in order to "convince" people who are of a complex nature who want to see the Truth from a logic and understanding point of view. I happen to be a person who had to be "convinced" of the Truth, and so scholarly study is something that I gravitate toward. You indicate that you want to question, and I say, absolutely! Be skeptical! I am always skeptical, and I never take someone at face value, but rather I test what they say with God's Word. Eventually, through this process, I gained faith, and it's NOT a blind faith.
As you imply, God is complex and is NOT simple. Absolutely! It is humans who are simpletons in comparison to God. Wouldn't you think (using human logic here) that our loving God would make it so simple that any person, no matter how uneducated or light on intelligence, could be saved to eternal life with God without being forced into scholarly study?
Thus, the important thing to keep in mind is that Christianity does not DEMAND scholarly study (faith and acceptance is all God demands), but Christianity is ENHANCED through scholarly study--the more you study, the greater your faith in God and the Bible, and this faith will compound as you see God working in your life, and then your faith in God and the Bible will grow, and this will be compounded . . . . and the cycle will continue spiraling ever upward toward God.
Laura, since you are of a scholarly nature, I urge you to spend some time (perhaps years) in study of orthodox Biblical material, get in a Bible study with conservative Christians, go to a Bible-believing Christian church, and then after this serious effort, then tell me that you still wish to go back to your friends who wish to invent a religion that picks and chooses in the Bible and creates a non-historical John Wesley.
God inspired humans to record His Word so that all of humanity would understand the simplicity of God's intention for humanity, and understand that God created us men and women, and although we are each uniquely different, we have God 100% in common with each one of us, and there is only one God, and He has sent us all the same message, and it's in the Bible.
I do not know you Laura, but perhaps you have had experiences like me, when in past years I was never sure what God wanted me to do, and I wondered which spirit was talking to me. However, in later years, when I began to walk with God by acceptance of the Truth, then it was clear to me that it is the Holy Spirit who was then, and is now leading me, as these leadings are consistent with God's Word. Once you accept the Truth, then you realize that God would never lead you in a direction in opposition to His own Word, and then it becomes so very clear that those leadings that are in opposition to His Word are NOT of God but, rather are from a different spirit. Remember, Christianity is NOT about feelings or esoteric experiences, rather it's about faith and following the Truth. Just as I know from having children, I do not expect you to be able to take my advice simply because I say it, rather, give yourself a chance to mature and grow in the Truth, and then later, you will be able to look back and see it for yourself.
You mention dinosaurs. You need to make use of that brain that God gave you to study the actual writings of current Bible inerrantists and see that conservative evangelical Christian understanding is currently conducting an on-going debate on the "old earth" vs. "new earth" aspect of study of the Bible. This debate includes all of the latest scientific data and theories. Bible inerrantists may have divergent opinion on this subject, but neither must be excluded in order to hold to Bible inerrancy. Laura, you spend too much time listening to propaganda from your friends and religious teachers concerning what Bible inerrantists believe, instead of actually researching what they believe from their own mouths. So, where's that inquisitive nature of yours when it comes to believing what you hear from your friends?
Please understand that I'm spending this time communicating with you because I am called to do so by God through Jesus and the Great Commission. I am preaching the Gospel to you as my duty and for the benefit of your soul. It saddens me that you would dismiss God and His Word, yet you interpret me as being angry with you. Certainly I'm angry, just as I'm angry and frustrated that no matter how much I "preach" to my children about the right things to do, as children they continue to make the same stupid mistakes that I made as a child. No matter how much I preach, they must go through life making mistakes, and I must learn to cope with watching them make those mistakes. So, I must do with you, Laura. I pray that you will lower your shield against God and allow the Holy Spirit to enter you, so that you, through patience and thorough study, will someday see the TRUE glory of God.
From: Laura Lilley [mailto:LLilley@Cal-Pac.org]
No, you are not trying to understand anything. Trying to understand involves patience and careful analysis, and your letter seems to have been written at a time when you felt anger and indignation that anyone would attempt to cast doubts on the beliefs of which you are so sure. You did not respond to me with love, but with law. I find this to be quite representative of "conventional" Christians. I don't however believe, from my reading of the Bible, that it is consistent with the character of Jesus.
How did I arrive at my beliefs? In a uniquely Methodist way - scripture, reason, tradition and experience. I have read most of the Bible, and continue to do so. I do have doubts as to its historical accuracy. While I do not believe it to be inerrant, I do believe it to be filled with truth, and I find it a most precious testament to God. I use the Bible to learn about God; I do not worship the Bible itself as perfect. Where does one draw the line of idolatry between the golden calf and the worship of a book?
I treasure the traditions of the church, both our Wesleyan heritage and the years of humanity striving for God before the birth of John Wesley. How can we honor two thousands of years of looking for God, of seeking and praying, if we think it was all simple and obvious from the beginning? If it is as simple and obvious as fundamental Christianity makes it sound, why would honest, heartfelt struggle result in the multitude of denominations we have today? Does every heart reach for God in the same fashion? We have only to look to God's creation to see God's passion for diversity. Why would you think that human beings would be so alike in their seeking? Read the lives of the saints, and the writings of the Christian mystics. If they come up with an answer that if different than yours, do you assume that their desire for God was somehow inferior to yours?
I was a child who begged my parents to take me to Sunday School. I had quite a stretch of time in my life when I believed as you do. I have also had a time in my life where I felt abandoned by God, years where I did as I pleased with no regard for God. I have indeed learned from other human beings as we have shared our journeys. I have learned from the Holy Spirit in the dark recesses of the night, and I have learned from the Holy Spirit in the bright light of day. I am still learning to separate the experience of the holy from my own thoughts and feelings. My experiences with God continue daily, growing and increasing, not limited to words on paper or sermons on Sunday.
God gave me a brain, and it is in God's honor that I use it. God gave me the tools to question, to analyze, to research, to reason. If all I need is blind faith in John 3:16, why did God create such a marvelous, complex organ as a human brain? And why did God lead men to gather together such a complex document as the Bible if we are to take it at face value and not use our magnificent brains to ponder its depths? And what does all this complexity say about God? Surely God is not simpleton. Surely we are seeking, questioning, learning creatures because we are like God, made in Gods image. Our reasoning abilities must logically be minute compared to Gods, but by using my brain to its fullest extent, am I not honoring Gods gift of reason? Yes, to honor God I must ask questions like this: What about the dinosaurs? If the Bible is inerrant and an accurate historical document, where between creation and now did the dinosaurs live?
Your quote of my statement about not needing to think, seek and stretch was entirely incorrect. Upon rereading it, you will find it to be my observation of fundamentalist Christianity. And when you say that I am limiting God, you list only Biblical observations. Could God have sent his equally divine son to earth to lay in a manger, and could God have preserved the writings of men as inerrant? Certainly, God could. Would God do so? Did God do so? I am not as sure of these answers as you. But then, I am not so afraid to question. I do not have as much of my identity dependent upon being "right " as you seem to.
You are wrong when you say of me, "You dismiss the knowledge from God that is espoused by those with whom you disagree". I know God speaks to us all, to you as well as I. God plants the seed, and sends the sun and rain to us all, causing growth. But it is each of us who is responsible for the soil which we offer for planting, and ultimately for the fruit that is produced. It is the fruit that I cannot respect. It is narrowness in a wide meadow of diversity. It is self-righteous flowers growing on a stalk of fear. It is criticism of anyone who treads a different garden path. It is the fruit they bear that causes me to struggle with many who claim to follow Jesus.
"I know the truth and you don't" may seem a simple and true statement on its face, but it is of such exclusion that hate is born. I grieve for you, for your narrow views, for your surety of the truth, for your blind obedience to the law of the page, not the law of the heart. I see only separation as its fruit, and in it no hope for the unity of God's people. Your suggestion that I change denominations is, to me, evidence of your desire for division. I and many that I know are committed to remaining in the United Methodist Church, and fighting for justice and inclusion for all of God's children. It is just because of fearful souls such as yours that we refuse to go away.
I am afraid the Methodist Church hierarchy is too far gone for reformation. The solution is to escape a sinking ship and return to the Bible as the only authoritative source for identifying the Lord's church; what it is; how it was established; how we can become members and how we are to worship. The Methodist Church Headquarters was putting out literature for young people thirty years ago designed to introduce them to witch craft and offering questionnaires about the deity of Christ and His resurrection and then telling young people at the end of several such questions, "There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. This is just to help you clarify your own values" Why would anyone who wants to serve God continue to support such a movement? Come ye out from among them.
In response to the comment posted by Laura Lilley LLilley@Cal-Pac.org on Monday, September 25, 2000 8:19 pm, the following is directed to the writer of that comment:
I'm trying to understand how you've arrived at your beliefs and the basis of those beliefs.
You indicate that you feel your god in your heart, saying:
"My heart and life are filled with a God who is wide and free . . ." "My God is a God of the heart . . ." "Open your mind and heart."
Evangelical Christians (with whom you disagree) KNOW God in their heart through Jesus Christ, and join with Jesus Christ in their heart through Scripture (God's Word). I'm curious, how do you get to know YOUR god and feel YOUR god in your heart? Do you get to know YOUR god by listening and learning from human leaders? Do you get to know YOUR god in ANY way by reading the Bible? If you DO read the Bible, how do you decide which parts relate to YOUR god, and which parts do NOT? Do you decide this by what human leaders say? If so, then it would appear that you are worshipping human leaders, NOT God. Do you decide this by what you "feel?" If so, then it would seem that you are worshipping yourself (your feelings).
Also, you make clear that you don't want your religion to be bound and don't want it to be limited, by saying:
"Who are we to limit God?"
Aren't YOU limiting God? I assume that you insist that God could NOT have possibly brought the second person of the Trinity to earth as a MAN being divine at birth; I assume that you insist that God could NOT have preserved HIS word in the Bible for so many thousands of years; If my assumptions about your religion are correct, then you place FAR more limits on GOD than anyone with whom you disagree. NO, what you don't want to be limited is the freedom of human kind to create their own destiny; you don't want to be limited in your own freedom to create any kind of god that you want. Fortunately, you live in the U.S.A. and here there is freedom of religion, and the UMC has exerted that freedom through many centuries, and continues to exert religious freedom every four years. Why don't YOU express this same freedom by going to a denomination that supports your god? Why are you trying to LIMIT the majority of the people in the UMC who hold to UMC doctrine? You are trying to limit the free exercise of religion of the majority of the UMC.
So, you limit God, but you DO NOT limit yourself. You don't want to have to conform to any "standards of righteousness." You don't want to have any rules, you want to be unlimited and free, and so you despise anyone who would limit you with "right and wrong" (as those with whom you disagree profess). As you say:
"I don't need to think, I don't need to seek, I don't need to stretch; . . . The only law we need is love . . ."
You say that we need knowledge from God, when you said, "I treasure my journey of discovery, the gentle leading of God toward the knowing and growing of many facets of my life . . ." Yet, you dismiss the knowledge from God that is espoused by those with whom you disagree. So, I wonder, if you ever receive the knowledge from God for which you long, will you then disagree with yourself? In other words, if you disagree with others who have received knowledge from God, how can you be so assured that the knowledge that YOU receive from your god is worthy of being revered?
I do believe that groups such as this, that spend their time and effort attempting to hold others to their own standards of righteousness, absolutely do so out of fear. If my spiritual life is surrounded by a fence of rules and regulations, I don't need to think, I don't need to seek, I don't need to stretch; in fact, such actions would take me beyond the safety of the fence of law with which I have surrounded myself. As long as I carry my God with me in his little box, I shall be safe from hellfire and damnation. No! I grieve over the hate, lost lives, and fallen civilizations that have filled the history of this world, caused by people whose security came from "knowing" they are right and others are wrong; by those who see the law as, not a means to an end, but as an end in itself.
My heart and life are filled with a God who is wide and free, not small and petty. My God is a God of the heart, not a God bound by a book, be that book the Bible or the United Methodist Book of Discipline. Who are we to limit God? To decide that we know fully and completely who God is, what God thinks, and who God loves? I treasure my journey of discovery, the gentle leading of God toward the knowing and growing of many facets of my life, including my sexual orientation. I soar with God on the wings diversity and creativity. God has so much left to do with us, so much rich knowledge, so many treasures of the soul to teach. Please don't limit yourselves with dogma and legalese. The only law we need is love, and our grasp of God's love is still so small. What we call love here, those are only shadows. Move beyond. Open your mind and heart. Worship this lovely, incomprehensible God, not limited ideas of God bound in leather. Don't be afraid.
I have been reading a number of comments recently, and I am pleased to see that there are insights offered from those with whom we may not agree. However, I also see a number of presumptious "put-downs." In my view, Christ used parables as an example to all of us to avoid from putting each other down, and instead, He advanced our thinking on an issue through His parables.
I see the phrase "you just don't get it" crop up frequently as a presumptious put down used by both sides of an issue -- I followed a Jeep Cherokee for a few miles the other day, and it's bumper-sticker read: "It's a JEEP thing, you wouldn't understand."
But, what if I DO understand? What if I do get it? In my view, not everyone who disagrees with ME is Neanderthal. In my view, in discussion, if two of us agree, one of us is redundant. But how can we pray together, if we are disagreeable toward each other?
Perhaps that is the thought behind Christ's promise concerning prayer in Matthew 18:19-20: "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
Did He know just how hard it would be for two of us on earth to agree about anything we might pray for? Still, he promised that if we come together in His name, there He would be with us.
HIS PRESENCE IS WHY WE NEED ACCOUNTABILITY! -- Divine presence is a comforting promise we can remember, as we adjust and readjust and adjust again to the movement of the Spirit in our midst.
This kind of witch-hunt/inquisition, in the name of the United Methodist Church, brings shame to the rest of us who have pledged our membership to the UMC. Our Lord is a Lord of Love, not hate, not of gay-bashing, but of acceptance of those who wish Jesus Christ into their hearts. I would hope that if you are going to spend your time spreading the word of Christ on the Internet, that your message would be one of acceptance, like his, rather than one of hatred, certainly not like Jesus.
I take exception to your statement that Bishop Talbert did not proceed with integrity and Discipline accordance when the Investigating Committee decided in favor of the Sacto 68 ministers who assisted in the Jan 98 holy union service. The Bishop allowed the process to proceed according to the Discipline. The Com'te voted NOT to indict. The Bishop could not, by the Discipline and our UMC procedures, interfere with that investigation. If he had, he would have been under investigation for that interference. There is no UMC law that says a com'te must vote to satisfy the theological and political motivations of another segment of the church and this has become a political matter. When is the Judicial Council going to respond to other non-actions taken by some churches who do not follow the Discipline in other non-sexual concerns. Why does sex become the "whipping boy" for bible literalists? What happened to the church's earlier dictums regarding women clergy, divorce, O.T. practices of stoning, human sacrifice, etc . ?
Let's get on with the business of soul-winning, instead of criticizing our fellow Christians who serve their Christ in their way. Who is to JUDGE what is THE way? Only God can do that, not us. Shalom....Sarge Wright, retired, California
From: Ellen Rowan email@example.com
Why aren't we focusing on forgiving third world debt, feeding and housing the poor, strengthening educational programs for our youth and a dozen more important matters than nit-picking over homosexuality or other personal differences. This negativity is absurd and dangerous. (The Rev.) Ellen Rowan
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I pray that you can begin to move towards a new depth in your spiritual lives, so that efforts to prosecute and prove persons wrong in the name of doctrinal purity can be transformed into compassion for the poorest, the least, the persecuted, the victims of war, the hungry, the lonely. Surely Jesus called us to this ministry, and spoke out against rules and restrictions that tempt those of us in religious communities.
Your sweeping generalizations are damaging and cause harm in the most innocent of persons. I have heard of a 3rd generation United Methodist, in her old age, when she needs the church family, so confused by the accusations towards the Bishop in Cal-Nev and other situations here, that she has left the church, hurting and confused. Surely there is another way, beyond these viscious generalized attacks, and sweeping comments on person's theological perspectives. None of us is pure in our theology. God reveals more to us each day, for God's word is alive.
Please, let go of this quest before more come to destruction, and the church is damaged, in an era and a world that needs the word of grace and reconciliation.
Rev. Linda Pickens-Jones
With regard to the fretful toils of the "CUMA" group, it seems that the Salem Witch-hunters and the reincarnation of the late Senator Joseph McCarthy are alive and well to the embarrassment of Jesus and his repudiation of the Temple Purity System of his day. Our orthodox UM brothers and sisters just don't seem to get it.
Rev. John H. Emerson, retired (or rather, reFIREd)
If the question of accountability is not addressed, the discipline should be distributed on small soft cardboard rolls and sold in packages so that they at least will be useful for something.
so- what is it that are you all so afraid of? Your self-righteous bigotry is shameful and evil. I don't see how you can describe yourself as Christian.
Thank you for this effort. I think that this will graphically demonstrate the church's action or inaction in response to accountability issues.
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