Bishop Carter: Our mission with gays and lesbians in the UMC

Because of lack of time, I offer this without comment.

But I do encourage you to find the time to read the text of a talk given by Florida Bishop Ken Carter on the subject of inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the life and mission of the United Methodist Church.

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9 thoughts on “Bishop Carter: Our mission with gays and lesbians in the UMC

  1. Richard Hays
    “never within the canonical perspective (of scripture) does sexuality become the
    basis for defining a person’s identity or for finding meaning and fulfillment in life. The things
    That matter are justice, mercy and faith (Matthew 23: 23).”

    Is that statement true?
    Prior to recent history there was no reason to address the “canonical perspective” because there was no question, no challenge to the biblical teaching on christian marriage and sexual union restrictions, definitions and covenants.
    Sexuality is defined in scripture and we as Christians are defined by the acts and works we do sexually and otherwise.
    The author uses the term “restore”.
    The question is, “Restore to what and whom?”.
    To move toward something or someone is a move “away” from something or someone.
    In the context of homosexual union the move would be “away” from homosexuality toward the perfect covenant relationship of one man with one woman in holy matrimony.

    Questions that need answering are:
    Why is the church quick to condemn some acts considered sin and not other acts of sin?
    Has the worlds thinking permeated and pressured the church to accept the unacceptable?
    In the Christian Community who defines justice and rights?
    Who is the author of both…God or man?
    Is there evidence in scripture that supports some forms of sexuality and /or sexual acts are not acceptable in the Christian Community?
    Is there evidence and example in scripture and in the histories of the church some sexual acts lead to expulsion from the church?
    Is the issue of GLBT given special attention?
    One cannot help but notice homosexuality is always addressed but the issues of Transexuality, Bisexuality, and Pedophilia are never addressed.
    What is the responsibility of the sinner? Should their heart and driving force be to become acceptable to God or are we to war against God, His written Word and the church?

    The “hope” and draw of Christianity has always included change. Without change there is no hope there is only sameness. Hope for a better future. Hope for a better way of life. Hope for eternity. Hope for union with God. All require change.

    Christ asks an interesting question in the Book of John.
     “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

    http://www.christinyou.net/pages/sexuality.html

    1. d, all these are fascinating questions. Let me pose one to you.

      I start to attend your church, with my gay partner. We deny that there is anything unGodly about our loving, committed partnership- call it invincible ignorance or wishful thinking, if you will. What do you, and your pastor, do?

      1. Clare, you and your hypothetical “partner” are welcome in any United Methodist Church. You may join the United Methodist Church, and receive holy communion. You and your partner may serve in leadership positions. Does this answer your question satisfactorily?

    2. Ken’s point about the Discipline’s specific mention of ‘homosexual’ acts is well-taken. Are we reserving homosexual acts for some ramped up censure over and above all other sins? The argument that some “feel” excluded is weak. Homosexuality is something we do not talk about in my church. There has NEVER been a word from the pulpit on the issue. Openly gay members worship and are warmly welcomed and received. The “exclusion” or “condemnation” that some complain about is simply the weight of knowing that the Church does not affirm same-sex genital intimacy.

      Of course, we cannot argue with what worshipers “feel.” My own view is that the “pain” so often attested to in Reconciling propaganda is mostly calculated political manipulation.

      The context of the specific language Bp. Carter laments (INCOMPATIBLE!!!!!) is a response to the culture: Both popular culture and the peculiar culture of our polity, especially the agenda(s) of the Boards and Agencies. The sexual revolution was in full force at the time the language was added, and there was most probably a sense that the floodgates must be closed. Denominationally, both the women’s division and the Board of Church and Society were advocating full inclusion of men and women who identify with and glorify a need for same sex genital intimacy. General Conference 1968 was a travesty, with the agency insiders basically hijacking the Discipline and forcing it far left. The statement on Abortion is a case in point. That provision was essentially hijacked by pro-abortion staff by making “editorial changes” to a proffered statement to change the position from one that reluctantly approved abortion when the life of the mother was in danger to a position that put the UMC in the pro-abortion column.

      The clumsiness of the language is unfortunate, but we all know what it means, and should be affirmed as a General Conference’s attempt to commit the UMC to a view of human sexuality consistent with the then universal witness of the church through the ages.

  2. In order to answer your question a lot of issues have to be studied first.
    There is not room or time to do it here but there is time to study covenant relationship, marriage, what Christ himself said about sin. who Christ called sinners, hypocrites, false teachers and liars. There is time with independent study to see the challenge of unconditional inclusiveness in scripture. There are ways to study what pleases God and what God rejects. There is time to study study sexual orientation and all that is included in the lifestyle.

    I’ll refer you to a few inspired words and you can decide who get’s to say what is and is not Godly.

    In the Book of Job we read:
    Could God govern if he hated justice?
        Are you going to condemn the almighty judge?
     “Must God tailor his justice to your demands?

    For God watches how people live;
        he sees everything they do.
    No darkness is thick enough
        to hide the wicked from his eyes.
     We don’t set the time
        when we will come before God in judgment.
     He brings the mighty to ruin without asking anyone,
        and he sets up others in their place.
    He knows what they do,
        and in the night he overturns and destroys them.
    He strikes them down because they are wicked,
        doing it openly for all to see.
    For they turned away from following him.
        They have no respect for any of his ways.
    They cause the poor to cry out, catching God’s attention.
        He hears the cries of the needy.
     But if he chooses to remain quiet,
        who can criticize him?

  3. I think the bishop has eloquently (and scripturally) written that we don’t know exactly how to handle this issue and that’s OK. I appreciate his guidance and I think it probably reflects the way more people in the church feel about it than on either side of the issue.

    It’s refreshing to hear a voice of reason in this debate. Your other commenters have raised a lot of good questions but we’re more likely to answer them taking the bishop’s perspective than the perspective of political agitators from either side.

    Thank you for posting this.

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