Over at gavoweb, gavin writes, "in what seems to be the largest 'coming out' action ever. 75 methodist ministers are coming out in a letter to the church leaders discerning through the sexuality debate within the umc."
This was the first that I heard concerning this and I'm sure with the Judicial Council meeting next week we'll be hearing more. My prayer is that we'll model the gospel and love of Jesus to all of our brothers and sisters despite our different ideas. Whenever difficult issues arise we always run the risk of allowing ourselves to put our differences above our unity.
I found a wonderful interview with Bishop (and one of my heroes) Will Willimon where he addresses homosexuality with an interviewer from Good News. The highlighted parts of Willimon's responses are my emphasis and the red remarks are my remarks.
GN: Should gay people be accepted into membership?
Willion: Sure, as long as they desire to be cleansed of their sin and free from the wrath to come. Any gay person who wants to join our church, after all the statements we’ve made about the sin of homosexual practice, must be one of the most gracious people in the world. We could use more gracious people in our church. (great statement!!)
When I joined the church I was extremely greedy and lustful. God has worked on me. I’m still greedy and lustful, but you wouldn’t believe how much better I am since I met Jesus. I’m a heterosexual, though not that active at the moment, but I assume that if Jesus can forgive and transform me, it’s not too much of a reach to think he can do that for an openly gay person.
Jesus never said it was hard to save gay people. He said it was hard to save rich people like Don Trump and Bill Gates and me. Still, with God, all things are possible! (and usually the rich remain rich, what does that say about God's grace?)
GN: What should we do about the ordination of homosexuals?
Willimon: Who told you that was a big issue? We’ve lost three million members in a couple of decades. None of that has anything to do with gay people! It has to do with the failures of heterosexual Christians!
We don’t have much problem in Alabama with lots of gays wanting to be ordained. We have a big problem with modestly talented, not too energetic or passionate heterosexual people wanting to be ordained. I wish Good News would do more good work in trying to get the very best, the most faithful pastoral leaders in our church and worry less about gays, ordained or not. But they haven’t asked me.
Our church appears ambivalent about abortion, about the evils of corporate America, about the invasion of Iraq, but we sure know a lot about gay people, so much more than the Bible. I can tell you exactly what our church believes about sex, but I can’t tell you exactly what Jesus believes about sex.
I think it’s strange. Still, I support whatever General Conference says on any subject and will do my best to carry out the will of our church on this or any other matter. I work for General Conference.
GN: What should we do about gay marriages?
Willimon: You’re just full of scripturally irrelevant questions, aren’t you George? We don’t do gay marriages in our church. Period. I’m more worried about all the marriages that we do and that fail, than I am about the gay marriages we don’t do.(hat tip to Wayne for interview)