Martha Myre, a UMC elder in North Texas, has written three posts with her interpretation of that oft-discussed creature: biblical marriage.
I respect the carefulness and humility with which she engages in this task. The end of the third post strikes me as the spirit in which all these conversations should take place:
This is a very brief overview of how I understand marriage on the basis of the Bible. I know this will not “convince” many people to change their stance. But I deeply dislike simplistic views of scripture from both camps and I am trying to be faithful to a reasoned and faithful view of scripture.
In all honesty, I would rather hold a different view of gay and lesbian relationships. It would be simpler and people would not hate and ridicule me. I could go along and get along. I could affirm the love that I know is very real in GL relationships without having a problem with certain aspects of those relationships, and therefore would not be in conflict with some wonderful people. I could present myself as modern and relevant and it would be a lot easier to reach out to the “nones.” However, because I read the Bible as I do, and because I understand it to be authoritative for my life (see Excursus in Part1), it would be hypocritical of me to present myself as totally accepting of open marriage (and ordination) and I don’t think that would appeal to the “nones” either. I maintain that I can love people with whom I disagree and I will keep trying to do that. I hope that those who know me will try to love me back.
I stumbled on this post by Gary Thompson via something else he wrote and the magic of Facebook.
This post deals with that central question that is so oddly hard for us to all agree about: What is a disciple? (I wonder if Nike ever has a problem figuring out what shoes are.)
Thompson offers several commonplace ideas about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, then gives us his definition.
I’m sure you can add to the list and I encourage you to do so in the comments section of this blog. But let me suggest a simple way to express what makes a Christian disciple. At the core, a disciple is one who does what Jesus repeatedly asked people do. “Take up your cross and follow me.” Do what Jesus did; be like Him. Love and serve others in His name. Of course, church and scripture reading and prayer will be a part of one’s life. We won’t know how to be like Jesus if we are ignorant of the Bible.
So, here it is. If you want to BE a disciple of Jesus–if you want to BE happy and successful in life–discover what God wants you to DO and DO it.
The text of a letter John Wesley wrote to Jasper Winscom in 1786:
I am glad to hear so good an account of the work of God in Witney. If the Lord will work, who shall hinder? This should encourage you to still greater zeal and activity. The death of that miserable backslider was a signal instance of divine Providence, and very probably might excite some others to flee from the wrath to come.
Lest we suffer any illusions that Wesley thought the work he was doing was a light thing, let us consider these words of his. A person died, I’ll presume a man to ease my pronoun choices. He had been a Christian, possibly a Methodist, but had fallen into a life at odds with faith in Jesus Christ. And he had died. In response to the news of his demise, Wesley did not mouth pious sentiments about death. No, he sensed and opportunity. Perhaps the man’s death would shake up some others. Maybe they would begin to worry about eternity and God’s wrath.
You see, Wesley believed the Methodists were locked in a struggle of ultimate importance. If that meant angling to exploit the death of a backslider, then so be it.
However we might fault or dismiss Wesley in out day, we cannot deny he went about his ministry with the conviction that the stakes were high and what he did impacted the lives and eternal happiness of people touched by his ministry.