Should Local Churches Decide Their Own Position on Homosexuality?

Jason Micheli —  June 7, 2014 — 16 Comments

Church-RainbowIf you’re a member of church or a pastor, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

In my little corner of the Christian world, the United Methodist Church, we’re split down the middle on the issue of homosexuality with both sides recalcitrant about so much as attributing Jesusy motives to their opponents.

We’re split and both sides absolutize their cause to the point where they have no rhetorical choice but to double-down and see the other as opponent.

Conservatives have dug their heels in in the name of biblical authority such that any compromise on sexuality is to betray the Word. Liberals meanwhile advocate their position with the certainty that Jesus would be on their side, a rhetorical ledge from which its hard to back away.

The result is an impasse that distracts the Church from other (more biblical, I would argue) issues and stymies the Church’s attempts to reposition itself for ministry in a post-Christian context.

Such an impasse with two sides cemented in their views and agendas would seem to beg for an alternative third way.

This is what’s offered by A Way Forward, a proposal by a group of leaders in the United Methodist Church.

You can read about the proposal in this Washington Post article.

The proposal is such that advocates on both sides will be left wanting, which, to my mind at least, makes it a sound approach.

The too wordy proposal can be summarized so:

We propose that the United Methodist Church entrust to each local church the authority to determine how they will be in ministry with gay and lesbian people including whether they will, or will not, allow for homosexual marriages or unions.

And also this:

We suggest that local annual conferences be permitted to determine whether they will or will not ordain self-avowed, practicing homosexuals

While I have theological qualms about individual churches choosing their doctrine for themselves, I also think Protestant Christians should be working to undo the wounds caused by the Reformation not exacerbating them.

Unity not purity should be our goal as the Church.

But will liberal United Methodists countenance congregations in, say, the Southeast, that are not affirming of gay Christians? Will conservative Methodists lay down the mantle of biblical authority and permit churches in the Northeast to minister in a way they feel contradicts the clear teaching of scripture?

Have both sides so absolutized this issue that compromise on it is the equivalent of compromising the Gospel?

I’ll paste the text of the proposal below, but you can click over to the website devoted to it and see who has signed it (did I?) and even sign it for yourself.

A Way Forward for a United Methodist Church

We stand at a crossroads in the United Methodist Church. The ongoing debate over homosexuality continues to divide us. One side believes that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. The other side believes that scriptures related to homosexuality are like scriptures related to the subordination of women, violence or the acceptance and regulation of slavery, reflecting the values of the times in which the scriptures were written more than the timeless will of God.

Every four years United Methodists meet for General Conference, devoting much time and energy to the debate over homosexuality. We leave General Conference more divided than ever. Some, believing the current policies of our denomination regarding homosexuals are unjust and do not reflect God’s will, call for a reversal of the language in the Book of Discipline restricting the rights of gay and lesbian people to marry or be ordained. Others suggest that if this were ever to happen, they would have no choice but to leave the denomination.

Some, in frustration with the current impasse, are now violating the Discipline and officiating at weddings for homosexuals. Others, frustrated that the Discipline is being flouted, are now calling for the formal division of the United Methodist Church into two denominations: one that holds that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, and which forbids the marriage of homosexual people and the ordination of self-avowed, practicing homosexuals. The other, presumably, would embrace homosexual marriage and ordination.

We, the undersigned, believe the division of the United Methodist Church over this issue would be shortsighted, costly, detrimental to all of our churches, and not in keeping with God’s will.

While some on either side of this issue see only two sides in the debate, a vast majority of our churches are divided on this issue. United Methodists have gay and lesbian children, friends, co-workers and neighbors. A large number of our churches have gay and lesbian members. Our members, like the broader society, are not of one mind on the issue of ordination or marriage for gay and lesbian people, and many find themselves confused about bisexuality and those who are transgender. Most of our churches, regardless of the dominant view of the issue in their congregation, stand to lose members if The United Methodist Church divides into two churches over homosexuality.

We believe the decision to divide the church over homosexuality would be shortsighted. Views on this issue in our society are rapidly changing, yet are far from settled. The February 2014 Pew Research Center poll found that 54% of Americans now favor the right of gay and lesbian people to marry, up from 31% just ten years ago. Among young adults, support for gay marriage is now at 66%.[1] The church does not determine Christian ethics by looking at poll numbers. But, the poll numbers tell us that the people we are trying to reach, and the people in our pews, are divided and shifting on this issue. To form a new denomination primarily based upon opposition to homosexuality would negatively impact that Church’s ministry with 54% of the population, and two-thirds of young adults. Further, a significant majority of young clergy in the United Methodist Church hold a more progressive view on homosexuality. A denomination formed largely due to its opposition to homosexuality may find its ministry to younger adults increasingly difficult in the decades ahead.

We believe that the question of homosexuality is virtually irresolvable at General Conference. Maintaining our current position will force progressives to continue to violate the Discipline as a matter of conscience. Reversing the position at General Conference would force hundreds of thousands of our conservative members to leave the denomination as a matter of conscience, with devastating consequences to many of our churches, and in turn, to our shared mission and ministry together. We believe there is a better way forward than the current impasse or the division of the United Methodist Church.

Paragraphs 201-204 of The Book of Discipline note that the local church is the “most significant arena through which disciple making occurs.” It is “primarily at the level of the local charge…that the church encounters the world,” and “the local church is a strategic base from which Christians move out to the structures of society.” Further, it states that, “Each local church shall have a definite evangelistic, nurture and witness responsibility for its members and the surrounding area…it shall be responsible for ministering to all its members.”

In recent years the General Conference, through the Discipline, has given increasing permission for local churches to organize in ways that are most helpful to the congregation. Further, local churches already determine their own strategies and plans for making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This leads us to the following suggestion for how we move forward as a denomination:

We propose that the United Methodist Church entrust to each local church the authority to determine how they will be in ministry with gay and lesbian people including whether they will, or will not, allow for homosexual marriages or unions.

Under this plan the current position of the Discipline would become the position of each local church, but a local congregation, at the request of the senior pastor and with a supermajority vote of the members of the congregation and only after a process of prayer, study and discernment, could determine their own position. Churches could vote to adopt a more inclusive policy allowing for homosexuals to be married in their churches and welcoming gay and lesbian clergy. Conversely, they might take the position that their members are “not of one mind” on this issue and therefore postpone any decision until they gained greater clarity on the issue. Doing nothing would mean that they affirm the current disciplinary language. Traditionalist churches around the world would retain the current language in their local congregations. Strongly progressive churches could adopt more inclusive language and practices.

Regarding ordination, in keeping with the current provisions in the Book of Discipline empowering Boards of Ordained Ministry to review candidates for ordination, we suggest that annual conferences be permitted to determine whether they will or will not ordain self-avowed, practicing homosexuals while allowing local churches to determine if they would or would not be willing to receive gay and lesbian clergy. In conferences where the ordination of gay and lesbian people was allowed, they would be held to the same standard heterosexual clergy are held to: fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness.

This proposal is, at this point, merely conceptual. There are many questions that must be answered and many details to be worked out. A study team will be working on legislation required to implement this policy. But we believe this concept gives us the best opportunity to address one of the most challenging issues the church faces today, and to do so in a way that honors each local church and reduces the harm that will inevitably come from either dividing the United Methodist Church, or continuing to force all churches to conform to one interpretation of scripture regarding the issue of homosexuality.

What Unites Us as United Methodists

United Methodist congregations already hold different views on how to interpret the scriptures related to homosexuality. They also have different ways of being in ministry with gay and lesbian people. What makes us United Methodists is not our position on homosexuality, but a core set of theological, missional and ministry convictions.

To be United Methodist is to believe, follow and serve Jesus Christ. It is to hold together a passionate and personal evangelical gospel and a serious and sacrificial social gospel. It is to hold together a deep and wide understanding of grace and a call to holiness of heart and life. It is to hold together a faith that speaks to the intellect and a faith that warms the heart. To be United Methodist is to be a people who study and seek to live scripture and who read it with the help of tradition, experience and reason. To be United Methodist is to invite the Spirit’s sanctifying work in our lives to the end that we might love God with all that is within us and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

United Methodists believe that God’s grace is available to all, not only a predestined “elect.” We believe that God brings good from evil, but we don’t believe that God causes evil. We believe that it’s okay to ask questions and that we’re not meant to check our brains at the door of the church. We find helpful those guidelines we call the General Rules: Refrain from evil, do all the good you can, and do those things which help you grow in love for God. The Covenant Prayer is for us a powerful reminder of what it means to call Jesus Christ Lord: “I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what you will…”

United Methodists have at times been called people of the “radical center” or the “extreme center,” holding together the best of each side of the theological divide. It is this ability to hold together the important insights and perspectives of both the left and the right that is exemplified in a church that allows local congregations to hold varied scriptural interpretations on the issue of homosexuality.

We believe the world needs a vital United Methodist Church now more than ever. In an increasingly secular age, the world needs churches that can make an intellectually sound case for the gospel, proclaim a faith that touches the heart, and call Christians to action seeking to help our world look more like the kingdom of God. A vital United Methodism will remember its heritage and mission. It will be deeply devoted to Jesus Christ, and serious about its role as his body – in the world. If it will have a future, it must help gifted young adults to answer God’s call to full time Christian service. And it must focus on both starting new congregations and working to revitalize existing congregations.

By moving the decision-making regarding homosexuality to the local church, we hope to end the rancor, animosity and endless debate that divide our denomination every four years at General Conference. What we propose would allow conservative, centrist and progressive churches to come to their own conclusions regarding this important issue and to focus on how best to minister in their own communities. We will be bound together by what we share in common, rather than posturing to impose our will upon one another in areas where we are so deeply divided.

United Methodists have an approach to the gospel that 21st century people can and will respond to. Our hope is that United Methodists might be united around our common heritage and our theological and missional convictions, so that we might be used by God to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

 

Jason Micheli

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16 responses to Should Local Churches Decide Their Own Position on Homosexuality?

  1. Jason, the UMC is not “split down the middle.” The proponents of this change are in the minority. No, this shouldn’t be left to individual churches or conferences. If the minority doesn’t like it, they should separate. It’s very simple.

    • Jason Micheli June 9, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      I wonder if those who want to change the official language about homosexuality are in the minority, Jean. For example, we confirm about 40-50 youth a year, making them full-fledged members of the UMC and, right or not, this is a non-issue for them. That’s born out among young people in the most conservative parts of the Church too. I guess I wonder if the perception about support one way or the other tends to, like so many other things in the church, take only the “adults” into consideration.

      • Jason, the denominations which have validated same-sex marriage and ordination of gay clergy are shrinking the fastest. This will accelerate in the UMC if we change. My challenge to your claim about UMC being split down the middle (which I stand by) was not to suggest that we should detemine truth or doctrine on the basis of majority vote, because we shouldn’t. When churches move away from the standard of biblical truth to any sort of cultural appeasment, the church becomes nothing more than a civic group; it no longer has Christ as its head, but man. It ultimately dies.

        Christianity and the role of the Church was never promissed to be compatible with surounding culture. We’re supposed to be light and salt; not you’re okay, I’m okay.

        If the church throws out the Bible, what authority will it follow? Here’s the problem with this debate: Although the Bible is clear that homosexual conduct is a sin, it doesn’t really matter to the oppostion what the Bible says. They want to ram same-sex marriage and gay clergy ordination down the church’s throat no matter what the bible says or how clearly; it doesn’t matter to them. If you’ve listened to the debate, this is what you hear.

        • Jason Micheli June 9, 2014 at 3:02 PM

          I definitely get the perceptions from each side that the other is forcing their agenda upon the other. It’s one of the attractions of the Way Forward proposal to my mind. Recent surveys have shown that the Southern Baptist Church is also experiencing steep decline, leading me to suspect that it’s not as easy as some assume to blame the pro-gay perspective for a particular denomination’s decline. Church and Religion in general are experiencing larger cultural shifts.

          • Jason, the pro-respect and obey the Book of Discipline position is not an agenda, much less one anyone is forcing on anyone else. It’s the long held position of the UMC. It is the pro-gay movement which has an agenda which it is pushing. The tradition position didn’t ask for or pick this dispute; it is reacting to the challenge of the pro-gay movement.

            The SBC is experiencing decline, but no where as fast as others like the Presbyterians and Lutherans who have capitulated.

            What good is a connection if different churches believe and practice what they want? Why should my apportionment money go to what in my view might be a false gospel? There’s got to be more than funding pensions and supporting a clergy union to make it worth it IMO.

          • Jason Micheli June 9, 2014 at 11:17 PM

            I totally understand the apportionment angle, Jean, as I’ve often kvetched about how our app system keeps local churches from developing their own organic and grassroots mission ministries. Issue aside, I just see this as the least-damaging possibility of limited options.

  2. I think that it is a great idea to let the individual churches decide. If a congregation is not willing or able to see that the next generation of attendees are going to be of a “more accepting” mindset, then they need to face the fact that they may be a member of a “dying” church. Churches that aren’t welcoming to all & that don’t progress with the times will lose members slowly, but surely….no matter how awesome the Pastors are : )

  3. Your last statement makes your point completely for me. This is a very painful topic for those who sincerely believe they are interpreting scripture correctly in their opposition to such a change. Evolution of thought requires time and prayerful consideration. Ultimately and concretely we are called to love as Jesus does, so this change, now, seems obvious to me. However, I have not arrived at that position easily or quickly. I also understand those who have not yet accepted the change based on lifelong perceptions of scripture. They should not be judged too harshly. I think your suggestion is the most loving to all sides and is consistent with the doctrine of our church.

  4. Bob Oelschlager June 9, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    I welcome and support “The Way Forward” proposal.

  5. Hello. Gay person here. I thought as you debated the relative worth of my humanity you might enjoy the perspective of the people I can only guess you are trying to help? Perhaps minister to? If you read the main headlines of your post, all those who have commented before me, you might see how lost the actual gay people seem to be in your little debate.

    So I ask you: WHO are all your rules for? What is all this hand-wringing all about? You? What about the actual gay people all over the world?

    The privileged are those who take the abuse of others and make it a cause about them, their usually-smaller, always self-absorbed needs.
    This is not how Christians should operate. ever.

    You see there are very serious life and death issues in play here. I have the dead friends to prove it, what happens when people think I don’t matter. We are thrown out of our homes by our own families, picketed, taunted, chased down the street, beaten and yes murdered just for being. Yes just existing like straight people do without any thought at all.

    I have a hard time believing mere disagreements at your church meetings today approach this kind of high personal cost.

    Who are your rules about? All rules are arbitrary. Human beings’ existence NEVER is.

    Can you imagine this debate taking place today about black people? Have you noticed how any large institution is heavily scorned when they do what you are STILL doing? Hello, remember World Vision, are you guys really like that? Pulling money from hungry children over straight-only rights, is that next for you too?

    Who is this debate really about? You need to be sure you know what really matters in your walk with Christ, your outdated rules or the full humanity of all God’s people. Especially the least of these.

    In my view, you don’t need to worry about what this will do to your growth numbers, as vulgar and contrary to the gospel as that disgusting concern is. The young straight people I go to church with are FAR past the kind of churches who even debate the humanity of The Other, at all. You have far more serious problems of relevancy than just this.

    “Unity is more important than purity…” Really?? News flash: the poor, hungry, broken-hearted that are on the rise everywhere don’t need your puerile unity. They just need you to love, to love who God loves. You can’t understand that if you reject the identity of anyone.

    I imagine you may at last suspect that your perceived unity is an illusion. As gay people have learned all too often, the differences MATTER.

    Try this: you are Matthew Shepard’s mother. Read your proposal with the mindset that your son was beaten to death because he was gay. See how thin and just completely Outside Reality it reads then.
    Ask a gay person to read it with you, there’s a thought.

    Who is this about? Always remember the hearts of those in your care. Your work for God is never about you and your outdated institution.

    “We believe the decision to divide the church over homosexuality would be shortsighted”. Shortsighted FOR WHO? I can barely see straight as I read this. You stand by debating as gay people (it’s chiefly teenagers who get the most anti-gay abuse) are STILL kicked around and you call that shortsighted??? I’d better just stop now before I say something as terrible back to you.

    And get my rainbow off your church with its hateful “legislation”. You don’t know what it means.

    …ben in Seattle
    (Jason thanks for your courageous support of gay people. This post is for those who think a “third way” is ok. It’s not. )

    • Jason Micheli June 10, 2014 at 8:11 PM

      Thanks for your comments Ben. Suffice it to say, I agree that this ‘issue’ shouldn’t be abstracted away from actual people’s lives and how what we say and do as Christians has actual consequences in real lives. As a pastor, my sense is that most church people get that because of the gay people in their own lives. This isn’t such a abstract/theological debate for them as it is in the institution, clergy or blogosphere. My own views are very much informed by the many gay friends I’ve had with callings to ministry who were unable to exercise them.
      Sad as it may be, one of the benefits- to my mind at least- of this 3rd way is that I think it’s the speediest way that at least some churches and conferences will welcome and ordain gay Christians. I wish it were otherwise but I don’t foresee much of the Church or even my own conference changing its position in the foreseeable future.

    • Ben, I hear the indignation in your writing and I certainly do not mean to offend you. I, personally, converted to a faith where I believe that the bible in its entirety is the word of God. From that I am commanded to love my neighbor. I am also commanded to conduct my life in a holy way. I did not write the bible, I only believe it.

      I don’t know how you interpret the bible, or of what authority, if any, the bible plays in your life, and I don’t judge you. That’s not my role; I try to love everyone and share the love of Christ.

      Since I don’t know what you believe, I don’t have any specific response to your post except to explain what and where my believes come from. If I were to jettison the bible’s teaching, I wouldn’t be practicing Christianity as I know it. I have studied the different view points on the topic of same-sex attraction, and I come down on the traditional interpretation.

      If you would like to share what you think, I am certainly willing to listen and learn

  6. Hello Jean,

    I appreciate your honest and kind reply to my post. I do not expect we will agree, but I am happy to explain my spiritual foundation. I am sorry this is a bit long, but this spiritual life is a big passion of mine.

    The crux of the difference in what our faith stands upon it seems can be summed up in your statement,
    “I have studied the different view points on the topic of same-sex attraction, and I come down on the traditional interpretation.”

    As I implied before, I am not a “topic”. I am a human being, existing probably in almost every way just as you do. I stand just as tall and normal as anyone else, because it is not anyone’s particular purview to define what is normative based primarily on what is usual. This is no more complicated than blue eyes vs brown.

    I have LIVED the “topic” you studied. I experience human lived reality ahead of written viewpoints devoid of eyes and hearts. That is our different viewpoint.

    Stand next to me. Then say this:”I have studied the topic of opposite-sex attraction and found it to be really not my thing, but that’s ok because what I do not live is none of my damn business.” Do you see how silly this sounds, all this opinionating on things you don’t actually experience and thus can’t really know? Do you also see how tremendously easy and common it is to come to a self-serving conclusion? This is not bad necessarily, but it is very biased and thus potentially very damaging to others’ experience:

    When you reduce people to an abstract topic you too easily dehumanize them. We modern humans love to categorize, it is a handy shortcut we do without realizing its implications. I see from your response earlier that you get this.

    The whole idea of Christianity it seems to me is to get people to realize the above and stop doing it. Based on ethical and spiritual principles in the Bible, we learn in our church communities how to break down our modern human self-serving tendencies, and love the unloved with grace, compassion, humility, peace and mercy. That to me means primarily embracing who people really are, a nature that can only be experienced, never abstracted.

    Do you know any gay people? Because once you actually talk to gay people about these things that we so abstractly discuss in this dry medium, your perspective quite easily can shift.
    Unless you can take your views and articulate them to the actual people involved, to their face, you are not allowed to inflict such views on others. That is how oppression starts. This is also why racism is still with us.

    So I walk with Christ in the manner he did with his community, embracing their full humanity by often showing how the scriptural interpretation of the time was holding people down instead of lifting them up. His lens was primarily experiential of the oppression his people lived at the time, not to follow the domination system of the Temple priests and the Romans in collusion, against the humanity of ALL. The foundation was a Torah scroll, but the life was of human experience. He told STORIES about PEOPLE, not so much rules and authority.

    Thus my spiritual life is not based on cold rigid beliefs. It is informed primarily by experiences of God with real people in my cultural midst. This is far more enriching, real and present for ME, and challenging to live honestly than ancient scriptures far far away culturally from my lived reality. It is easy to continuously fall short of written expectations. It is far harder to let real ppl down or ignore them.

    People these days are not so interested in rules and traditions and any self-appointed authority telling them from far away how to live their lives. That’s fine, because people never really have lived fulfilling nurturing lives under that kind of weight. What we are discussing here is not new, history is replete with it: belief systems trying desperately to control human spirit.

    All I wish to do here is show you another perspective, hoping to make it clear that IMO religion is about people, not beliefs and commands. It should make us love more, not less.
    You are welcome to your beliefs! Just don’t dehumanize. Marriage and love are big humanizing things. Please find a way to make that work.

    What I believe doesn’t matter. Who I am and the human family I belong to matters far more and far more deeply. I love with a spirit infused by a community who really knows fully all that I am. A book does not do this, it is too detached.

    I just realized today that it is likely there are more states allowing gay people to love and get married than there are churches who will allow the same thing. We all need to understand what that says about love and family and all those things we THINK our church is about, and whether it is really doing them as the culture outpaces the church. In love, which should be our leading thing. That is simply awful.

    Thank you for appreciating my perspective.

    • Hi Ben,

      Thank you for your thought provoking reply. I’ve enjoyed the advent of blogging because this medium provides interactive access to current information, teaching and opinions from a wide variety of people and sources. That’s certainly been a positive. On the other hand, blogging has some serious drawbacks and limitations, and I think you hit on some of them in your reply to me. Blogging in general, and anonymous discussions in particular, are, for a number of reasons and despite the best of one’s intentions, prone to fall short of taking into account the human element that many discussions, including especially this one, rightly deserve.

      I have tried to remain aware during my exchanges on this blog that the issues we’ve been discussing are very personal to many and are far more than mere topics or categories, and so I have tried to be sensitive in my posts to neither offend nor condescend. However, I see from your observations that I missed the mark and for that I apologize.

      You described your beliefs very well. I respect your right to your beliefs, even if we do not agree on every point. I have had gay friends and co-workers, who I have socialized with. I have found these friends to be among the most generous, caring, creative and nicest people I have known, and were it not for your question, I would not typically use the adjective “gay” before “friend” in referring to them.

      You made a few statements I would like to respond to:

      “The whole idea of Christianity it seems to me is to get people to realize the above and stop doing it. Based on ethical and spiritual principles in the Bible, we learn in our church communities how to break down our modern human self-serving tendencies, and love the unloved with grace, compassion, humility, peace and mercy. That to me means primarily embracing who people really are, a nature that can only be experienced, never abstracted.” I agree with this entire statement.

      “Thus my spiritual life is not based on cold rigid beliefs. It is informed primarily by experiences of God with real people in my cultural midst. This is far more enriching, real and present for ME, and challenging to live honestly than ancient scriptures far far away culturally from my lived reality.” I agree with you to a certain extent. If you’ve ever studied the so-called Wesley quadrilateral for theological reflection, which balances scripture, reason, tradition and experience, this is the approach I take to life’s questions. This helps me apply scripture and tradition to my cultural context, but it does not permit me to obsolete scripture that does not condone modern cultural norms. However, I am committed to faithful study and interaction with others such as you and Jason to test my beliefs against other viewpoints.

      “People these days are not so interested in rules and traditions and any self-appointed authority telling them from far away how to live their lives. That’s fine, because people never really have lived fulfilling nurturing lives under that kind of weight.” We have a significant disagreement on this one. By embracing biblical teaching, I have received grace which has helped me either restore and/or strengthen not only my faith in God, but my marriage, relationships with my children and friends, and even my health. I’m not a Biblicist by any means, but immersing myself in the bible, along with worship, prayer and meeting with other Christians in small groups has been life changing for me. So, I don’t find scripture as a bunch of rules or a heavy yoke; I find that it actually helps free me from the weight of cultural expectations and my personal vices.

      “We all need to understand what that says about love and family and all those things we THINK our church is about, and whether it is really doing them as the culture outpaces the church. In love, which should be our leading thing.” I agree 100% that love should be our leading thing. Where I think we may differ is on whether the church should take its cue from the culture on what defines progress or love.

      Thank you for the opportunity to read your thoughts and to share mine.

      • Jason Micheli June 12, 2014 at 6:22 PM

        Jean y Ben,
        Can I just say that if the larger Church could replicate the tone you’ve taken here the Church and the Kingdom would be the better for it.

        I have the blog set so I have to ‘approve’ every comment because so many I receive are just mean (esp on this topic). I appreciate it and am grateful.

  7. A big smile to the both of you!
    I also apologize if I got a little hot. The tone at the beginning made me dehumanize you in some ways, and that was wrong. We all struggle to embody grace, I’m glad we turn and learn so quickly.

    Let’s both try and always represent what we learned here, the best of those we disagree with in these difficult times.

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