Coming to a UMC near you...

Epworth UMC, in Rehoboth, DE held a special Church Conference this week. The reason? To decide whether or not the congregation should affiliate with the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN).

RMN is a network of indiviuals, churches, and campus ministries who feel that the UMC's policy and doctrine are at odds. They also lobby for ordination of practicing homosexuals and homosexual marriage.

Officially, the Church states that the "practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidiates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church." This is in the Book of Discipline, Prargraph 304.3, Regarding the ministry of the ordained.

In 2000, a Resolution was adopted affirming the "inestimable worth of each individual" which you can find here. In a nutshell, this resolution acknowledges that the church has an obligation to be in ministry to all persons, and that lifestyle issues shouldn't come into play.

I think this is where RMN gets a little confused. There is not in consistency here, folks. There is only grace. The Church is acknowledging that sin is sin is sin is sin. God sees it all the same, he is just as grieved by lying as he is by murder. It is we who, in our extremely limited ability to comprehend Him and His creation, who have created this sort of sin hierarchy.

The Church is not being inconsistent, the Church is trying to effectively minister to all persons. At the same time, the Church is acknowledging that our clergy should be better equipped to lead, by being freed from certain hindrances. And unrepentant, continuous sin is a hindrance. Pastors are called to celibacy in singleness and fidelity in marriage. Shoot, we are all called to this, and many fall short. (I did, not secret there) The difference is this: what do you do about it? Do you make it right; or do you say that the Church was limiting you? Do you repent, correct, and move forward; or do you dig in your heels and demand that the Church look the other way?

RMN is the easy way out. So is banishment. It's easy to say, "There is nothing wrong with this, come on in." Just as it is easy to say, "You are damned, an abomination. Get out." What is diffficult, challenging, and ultimately the most rewarding to say, "Come in, be loved, and be transformed by Christ and His love for you."

What are we afraid of? I have never known the UMC to shy away from ministering to people. Whay is stopping the Church from reaching out with compassion and without compromise? Where is my Church?

I was once told that I "limit God" by holding fast to certain Biblical truths. Aren't RMN the ones who limit Him? By not accepting the life-altering freedom He offers us?

Comments

Bryan's aunt mary said…
Love the sinner, hate the sin. That is what our Mosignor always teaches. You may enjoy this blog
http://holywhapping.blogspot.com/

You have to be able to reach out to people at the same time never, ever watering down Christ's message of love and hope and always affirming transformative nature of change, redemption and forgiveness.

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