- Yes, I believe the practice of homosexuality is a sin and is not part of God's original design. Very painfully and with a heavy heart, I have come to this conclusion by using the Wesleyan quadrilateral of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. Scripture and tradition weigh heavy in the direction of this conclusion for me. Regarding scripture, the practice of homosexuality is in conflict with the complimentary theological scriptural understanding of the male/female relationship and of the Bible's metaphorical way of applying marriage to that time in the future when heaven and earth will finally be reunited (heaven and earth being the complimentary components that are finally joined together to become "one flesh," to use the marriage metaphor.) Tradition makes a strong case as well since the church has consistently been a unified voice on this issue (that the practice of homosexuality is a sin) from the very first centuries of the church. Only recently has the church begun to deviate from this pattern.
- So with the first point on the table, when you look at the polity of the United Methodist Church, that the appropriate committee of the conference recommended the endorsement of our conference treasurer, that a very fair debate ensued in the context of prayer and discernment, and that a vote was taken by our conference delegates (clergy & lay) in favor of electing this person to office, it's time to move on. We did not violate our church's Book of Discipline in the process, since there are no prohibitions of practicing homosexuality laity serving in church leadership positions. Yes, this was a gray area since the Book of Discipline does state that the practice of homosexuality is a sin, but it also states that we are not to discriminate based on sexual orientation.
- Most of the New Testament and especially the letters of the Apostle Paul emphasize the need for the church to be unified. Yes, we will disagree, but in the case of our new conference treasurer, the church/conference was given the opportunity to debate and decide on this issue and we agreed to elect this person as our new treasurer.
If we as a conference would have voted to not elect this person to be our new treasurer and the conference hired him anyway, then yes, by all means, call for a congregational meeting and rally up the troops. But that didn't happen! The church spoke and now we must be a unified body as we move forward.
So, when I got home from conference, I called the new conference treasurer to offer my congratulations, support, and prayers. And then I said, "I'm also calling you because of a situation my church is facing." And as I began to share about our situation, the new treasurer interrupted me and said, "Oh, I know all about the situation because I heard about it and have done some research on it." He then proceeded to offer his expertise to me and my church regarding our particular situation.
When I hung up the phone, I knew that the church got it right. Before the vote, I too, went back and forth. I can understand why people voted differently from me. Now is the time to offer God's unconditional love to this person who is in need of our support and our prayers. Let's focus on doing this, rather than holding rallies to complain about a decision in which the conference clearly spoke.