There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 14:12
There is an unsettling feeling I have working through. It is unsettling to me because it is about something that has been a part of my life since the day I was born. The impact of it precedes my birth some 60 years ago. Something this long-lasting has had a deep and profound impact on my life. Hopefully now you can see why I am dealing with this “unsettling” feeling.
What is it? My unsettled feeling is about the United Methodist Church and its future. The issue that keeps coming up centers around the issue of human sexuality, and in particular same gender sexual expressions. This past General Conference it was voted to set up a ‘commission’ of sorts to study the issue and report back to the next General Conference in 2020. Attempts are being made to prevent a split or “divorce” within the United Methodist Church, thus the call for “unity”.
Yet, how can there be unity when there are such clearly opposing views that have no common intersection? Unity on this issue is impossible and that is why I am concerned. Those who know me know that I judge no one (have too many sins of my own to worry about someone else’s sin). Here is though another fact: Same gender sexual expressions and even marriage is now acceptable among many in our nation. The SCOTUS has given gay couples the right to marriage. This is well within the Constitutional authority for the SCOTUS. If they declare it to be the “law of the land”, then so be it.
But for the church, the issue is much deeper. The real issue, as I see it for the church, is same-gender sexual expressions blessed by God? After prayer, study and a lot of reflection, my conclusion is simple. When I look at what God intended before the Fall of Adam and Eve was that sex/intimacy was God’s gift for husband (man) and wife (woman). Not just in sex/intimacy did God have an intention for humanity, but in every aspect of human existence there was to be a way of life that reflected the holy character of God and served His purpose. The Fall interrupted and set aside God’s holy purposes.
But God immediately began to see to restore what the Fall had broken–namely our relationship with self, others, creation and Him. Since the Fall there have been many more sexual expressions which entered into this fallen state of Creation. But only one, then and now, received and receives the blessing of God–the faithful intimacy between husband (man) and wife (woman). I know my view will offend some of my friends but my friendship with them goes deeper than and single subject and hopefully they will feel the same.
Homosexuality is NOT the worst sin–you see that’s the problem. People think, wrongly think, that there are degrees of sins, you know, Class A, B, C, or D Misdemeanor or Felony. Such distinctions are false and simply offer a way for some people to feel less guilty about their particular manifestation of sin. All of us have been affected by the Fall and have the “seed” of sin, the spiritual DNA of Adam living in us. That DNA expresses itself in different ways in different people.
Those who see this issue different from me usually argue that one is “born” gay, and that it’s not a choice. However, even in the behavioral science community there is no consensus on why a person is gay–is it choice or birth? Those who insist that God “created” them gay, (a position without solid theological or scientific support) must be included in every aspect of the church, including ordination. And this is why there can never be unity.
I foresee the time coming of a “split” or “divorce” within the United Methodist Church, and coming much sooner than many anticipate. I am saddened that I have been called a hate-monger and homophobe because of my understanding through biblical study and study within the realm of behavior and biological sciences that refutes the “God created Gay people” position. If the government wants to make gay marriage legal, OK, so what? I make a choice to not participate in such marriages as a pastor. I will not fight to deny gay couples to legal right to be married, but I will not officiate because of my conscience.
The divorce is coming within the United Methodist church UNLESS we stop this nonsense of building unity, and go back to the “pre-fall” standard of living life as God designed it and intended it to be. Not just in the realm of sexual expression, but in every realm of life.