Thursday, April 26, 2012

Forgiveness for the pain

To coincide with General Conference, now in session in Tampa, Ambrosia Neldon wrote an article that appeared in the Kalamazoo section of MLive online newspaper. The article is about John Fisher, who is pastor of First United Methodist Church of South Haven.

Fisher says the denomination's stand on homosexuality is "outdated." He proposed changing the key phrase, "the United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching." He wants it to read:
The United Methodist Church now recognizes that the historical Christian teaching that condemned the practice of homosexuality, is flawed, and we repent of such teachings and ask for forgiveness for the pain and suffering such teachings have caused and are causing."
I like his thinking. That's what I'm going to Tampa to promote.

I see the Love Your Neighbor blog is in full swing now. This is probably what I'll be writing for next week. It looks to be general news articles at this point. Alas, all the entries are posted by "admin" so you will have to open them to tell which postings are mine.

Some of the things from the blog:
* The Love Your Neighbor Tabernacle, a huge tent outside the convention center, is in full swing. It is proving to be the place to be, especially since food is served (to 400 people when they expected to serve 300). Hundreds of prayer ribbons (one of them mine) were tied to the fence surrounding the Tabernacle.

* The blog linked to an article in the Religious News Service that explains the debate. It includes why each side claims momentum is on their side. The pro-gay side cites Amy DeLong, who wasn't punished very much for performing a gay commitment ceremony and the 1200 current and retired pastors who have pledged to defy church law and marry gay couples anyway.

The anti-gay side says church membership has declined in the US and risen in conservative Africa. Because of that there are 100 fewer US delegates this year and 100 more African delegates. In addition, the balance in the US has shifted from the liberal north and west to the conservative southeast.

If you are really interested in following General Conference, today's Coalition News has an 8 page section listing all of the petitions the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) has an interest in. Some are tagged as one to be supported, others to be opposed. The broad categories are church restructuring, equitable worldwide connection, clergy effectiveness, death penalty, peace in Palestine/Israel, economic justice, making peace, full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, beginning and end of life health care. Background information on each category is included. This publication has a very important purpose -- have something concrete delegates can take to their legislative committees this week.

I can see I could become overwhelmed with reading.

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