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Meaningless Homosexual Dialogue Continues in North Texas

The North Texas Conference conducted a Day of Listening on Saturday 9/12/98. The subject was homosexuality. There was not an intention to legislate but to inform.

The format was:

  1. An opening address by Bishop Oden
  2. A historical review of the issue (from 1968 - 1998), this included a listing of most action and inaction at General Conferences,
  3. Two speakers were then allow to testify as to why they supported homosexual issues. There were few scripture verses used except the usual "God is love and Love thy neighbor". Two things seemed to sum up their arguments.
    1. They personally know and love someone who is homosexual and are unwilling to call that person a sinner and condemn them for their homosexuality.
    2. The second point was that we should be in ministry to all people, loving them and showing that God cares about them not judging them.
  4. Two speakers were then allowed to testify as to why they do not support the lifestyle of homosexuality as consistent with the Christian Faith. The first speaker laid out the Scriptural basis against homosexuality. His job seemed to be to form the foundation for the second speaker who proceeded to punch holes in many of the other two speakers arguments.
  5. There was a panel discussion between the four speakers that was useless.
  6. We were then broken into groups of 10 to 12 and held face to face talks on our personal points of view on what we had heard and on the subject in general. My observations were as follows:
    1. We could not agree on anything except that homosexuals are no more sinners than the rest of us.
    2. The clergy is more divided than the laity, although there was not a clear laity position either.
    3. Methodists would rather see someone die in sin than be accused of being judgmental.
    4. Personal experiences with homosexual people is driving the views of many ( how could God see such a good person as a sinner?)
    5. Being clear in your beliefs can be offensive to those who are trying to be open minded.

I admit that I, like most people attending the event, did not change my mind as a result of what anyone said. The group discussion was interesting.

The four that gave testimonies were asked to address the question, "What would cause them to leave the Methodist Church"? The first two said that they loved the Methodist Church and would work to change the Book of Discipline to achieve their view of what the church should become. The second two said that they also loved the Methodist Church, but that they loved God and Scripture more than either the church or the Book of Discipline. They would be forced to leave when they could no longer serve God and obey the Scriptures because to do so would violate the BOD.

I have been as accurate as I know how in passing this information along to you.

We were given two resource documents: In search of Unity ( Dialogue on Theology and Diversity Within the United Methodist Church) and Homosexuality, Marriage and the Church: A Conversation, ( Copyright 1998 Christian Century Foundation, July 1-8,1998, issue of The Christian Century)

No information on the Transforming or Exodus groups was provided.

Video tapes of the four speakers and some type of report from the small groups will be offered soon I do not know the cost.

Finally I believe you can expect to see this event coming to your areas soon. There has been wide spread interest in what was done.

In His Service Jerry Stephens

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