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Re: Methodists convict lesbian!

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  • cassondrawrites@aol.com
    Dear Tamara, I m curious about a couple of things you mentioned in your post. You stated that you don t have a problem with a homosexual holding a layman s
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 4, 2004
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      Dear Tamara,

      I'm curious about a couple of things you mentioned in your post. You stated
      that you don't have a problem with a homosexual holding a layman's position,
      but also that you don't see any ambiguity in the Bible on the subject of
      homosexuality. This appears a little contradictory. If it is inappropriate for a
      minister to continue in sin, why is it not inappropriate for the layman? I am
      assuming that you are referring to a practicing homosexual, not someone who
      has repented and is trying to live a pure life. If the primary purpose of the
      church is salvation for the lost, then isn't the church compelled to urge all
      sinners to repent, be they laymen or clergy?

      I'll tell you upfront I am not terribly familar with the modern carnation of
      the Methodist church, so perhaps you do not regard homosexuality as sinful at
      all. If that's the case, then obviously my question is moot. But I'd
      appreciate your clarifying your thoughts on this for me. Thanks.

      Sincerely,
      Cassondra


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Tamara
      I do regard homosexuality as a sin, and (until recently I thought) so did the Methodist Church. Yes, I am referring to practicing homosexuals only. I do not
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 4, 2004
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        I do regard homosexuality as a sin, and (until recently I thought) so did the Methodist Church. Yes, I am referring to practicing homosexuals only. I do not think it is a sin to have homosexual urges, but it is a sin if you act upon those urges.

        It is inappropriate for anyone to continue in sin, but especially so for a minister because others look to them in a special light.

        The Methodist Church is open to everyone. Practicing homosexuals are members in some congregations, and over time the church members have adjusted to that. The idea is that we are to love the sinner, but hate the sin.

        I think perhaps your question arises from the definition of a layman's position in the church. In the Methodist Church, that means a non-teaching position.

        Please let me know if this answers your question, or merely raises more. To be quite honest, I am struggling myself with this whole idea, because the church is changing in this area and I'm not sure I'm changing with them.

        Best,
        Tamara

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: cassondrawrites@...
        To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2004 9:35 PM
        Subject: Re: Methodists convict lesbian!


        Dear Tamara,

        I'm curious about a couple of things you mentioned in your post. You stated
        that you don't have a problem with a homosexual holding a layman's position,
        but also that you don't see any ambiguity in the Bible on the subject of
        homosexuality. This appears a little contradictory. If it is inappropriate for a
        minister to continue in sin, why is it not inappropriate for the layman? I am
        assuming that you are referring to a practicing homosexual, not someone who
        has repented and is trying to live a pure life. If the primary purpose of the
        church is salvation for the lost, then isn't the church compelled to urge all
        sinners to repent, be they laymen or clergy?

        I'll tell you upfront I am not terribly familar with the modern carnation of
        the Methodist church, so perhaps you do not regard homosexuality as sinful at
        all. If that's the case, then obviously my question is moot. But I'd
        appreciate your clarifying your thoughts on this for me. Thanks.

        Sincerely,
        Cassondra


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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      • cassondrawrites@aol.com
        Thanks, Tamara, I think you cleared that up for me. I guess what I perceived as contradiction lies in our differing approaches to sin. It sounds like your
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 4, 2004
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          Thanks, Tamara, I think you cleared that up for me. I guess what I perceived
          as contradiction lies in our differing approaches to sin. It sounds like
          your emphasis on loving the sinner leads you to tolerate the sin, hoping that the
          person will change at some point without pressure from others. In my mind,
          loving the sinner means doing everything possible to "snatch them from the
          fire," and that would include letting them know that they cannot be in fellowship
          with God while they continue to practice sin.

          By the way, I agree that a person may continue to have homosexual urges and
          yet remain pure before God, just as a heterosexual may continue to be attracted
          to members of the opposite sex or recovering alcoholics may continue to
          struggle with desires for alcohol, etc. The key lies in not indulging our lusts.
          The fact that we have lusts, of any sort, simply means that we are human.

          I know that you've been struggling with all this upheaval for a while. I
          hope that you can arrive at an understanding that communes with truth and frees
          your conscience. At its heart, there is nothing more simple and pure than
          faith, yet its application often is as tangled as are we.

          Cassondra


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Tamara
          Yes, Cassondra, you are correct about our approach to loving the sinner. It is hoped that those who are engaging in sin will stop doing so if shown compassion
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 5, 2004
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            Yes, Cassondra, you are correct about our approach to loving the sinner. It is hoped that those who are engaging in sin will stop doing so if shown compassion and God's grace in action. We don't openly preach against homosexuality like some churches do, but active homosexuals are counseled privately regarding the Biblical teachings on the subject. Our general sermons are usually upbeat and tend to be more along the lines of how to apply the teachings in a common-sense manner to the average person's life, rather than the "hellfire and brimstone" approach that some churches take. We're the churches that run most of the homeless shelters and soup kitchens. We try to work God's will through the less fortunate in our communities. I guess you could say we take a public service approach to the teachings.

            I especially agree with the Methodist Church's position permitting female ministers (I thought I'd throw that in for Keith's sake). In fact, I seek out Methodist congregations with female pastors, and always have. Of course, that's just a personal preference. It's not that I'm a feminist, it's that I feel more comfortable with a female pastor since I do seek pastoral counsel on a regular basis, and it has been my experience that a female can understand my personal concerns and feelings better than a male can. I have also found female pastors to be more compassionate than male pastors (although there is one notable exception).

            I agree with you that there are many types of urges common to the human condition which must be controlled and not acted upon, and homosexuality is but one of those many things. That is why we permit homosexuals to become members just as we would alcoholics. It is hoped that being accepted within the Christian community will facilitate change in their life. It actually does help a lot of people turn their life around.

            This homosexuality issue has been a great struggle for me, and I appreciate your kind concern. On the one hand, I agree with the teachings of the UMC and with the Book of Discipline, which is why I am a member. On the other hand, this seeming politicizing within the church leadership of the issues surrounding homosexual clergy has been a source of great stress for me. I simply cannot condone it among our clergy. I am basically trying a "wait and see" approach to how it will ultimately be handled overall. It appears that the church is agreeing with me regarding the issue since the last General Conference, but who knows what will happen at the next General Conference. The church seems to be evolving away from the teachings, slowly but surely, even though we already are one of the more liberal congregations. I don't think we need to become any more liberal than we already are.

            In the meantime, the church is telling members to not pass judgment, to stick together and allow the church to resolve the issue. However, it is my understanding of the scriptures that, when grave sin is involved within the Christian community, we must rebuke those sinners lest the sin spread to other Christians; and that ministers and teachers are to be held to a higher standard. Yet, the original minister to come forward with an admission of homosexuality still holds the position of pastor, despite being an active open homosexual. I feel the church and its members have a responsibility to rebuke her and take away her position within the church. Of even greater concern is that to permit her to continue in her position while still an actively practicing homosexual could even encourage young church members to sin by acting on homosexual urges. After all, if their minister is known to be a lesbian, and her homosexuality appears to be condoned by the church, the thought will naturally be that it must not be a sin. It's my understanding that, if others are induced to sin through one's actions, that constitutes blood guilt. So, I continue to struggle, and to pray that this will be resolved soon.

            Best,
            Tamara

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: cassondrawrites@...
            To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2004 11:58 PM
            Subject: Re: Methodists convict lesbian!


            Thanks, Tamara, I think you cleared that up for me. I guess what I perceived
            as contradiction lies in our differing approaches to sin. It sounds like
            your emphasis on loving the sinner leads you to tolerate the sin, hoping that the
            person will change at some point without pressure from others. In my mind,
            loving the sinner means doing everything possible to "snatch them from the
            fire," and that would include letting them know that they cannot be in fellowship
            with God while they continue to practice sin.

            By the way, I agree that a person may continue to have homosexual urges and
            yet remain pure before God, just as a heterosexual may continue to be attracted
            to members of the opposite sex or recovering alcoholics may continue to
            struggle with desires for alcohol, etc. The key lies in not indulging our lusts.
            The fact that we have lusts, of any sort, simply means that we are human.

            I know that you've been struggling with all this upheaval for a while. I
            hope that you can arrive at an understanding that communes with truth and frees
            your conscience. At its heart, there is nothing more simple and pure than
            faith, yet its application often is as tangled as are we.

            Cassondra


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



            Support your local IRS office and ask Keith Sisman to change his vote before another night falls!


            Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
            ADVERTISEMENT





            ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Yahoo! Groups Links

            a.. To visit your group on the web, go to:
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/

            b.. To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            Maury_and_Baty-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

            c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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