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Clattering Bones

When I first came to seminary two years ago I had two mentors, ordained pastors, whom I loved then and love now. One was an advocate, an ally for sexual minorities, the other believed homosexuality to be a sin. I felt the pressure, however unintended, for me to “choose a side.” To which camp was I going to align myself on the issue of people’s sexual orientation and their inclusion in the Kingdom of God?

I resisted choosing. I recall clearly stating that I did not, before ever entering the ordination process of my denomination, want my ministry to be defined by this one item. I did not want to be labeled; I did not want to be put into a group where I was ostracized by others – or exclusively welcomed; I did not want my ministerial career derailed because of my identification “for or against homosexuality” obscuring God’s work in me for the beloved children.

Recently, I was discussing this with my daughter. She had heard my rationalization before, but this time she weighed in: “so, you do not want your entire identity as a person defined exclusively by sexual orientation?” (She then made some sort of grunting sound and rolled her eyes a bit.) Point taken.

There’s lots I still don’t understand, so I try to ask questions, and listen. I am pretty clear though that honoring the two Great Commandments leaves no room for me to interpret the scriptures in justification of ostracizing, condemning, or rejecting any one. When I read the Good News of Jesus Christ, I see reference after reference to loving, protecting and accepting those that society – including at times institutional religion – elects to exclude.

So, today I am adding to my resources list the blog “Clattering Bones”.

Painting by Dalana Castrell (Emilia Cleopas)   I would encourage you to take the time to read two of the first posts:

  “Here We Go”   and “Where Are We Going…” for a thorough personal and theological treatment of why this conversation is important. Thanks, Jess. Thanks, Court; I love you. D.

Oh! So there’s no confusion: I do not believe homosexuality is a sin, but like heterosexuality, a God granted gift. Praise be to God for divine mercy for us all. 

 

 

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Wisconsin Delegation Statement

The Wisconsin Annual Conference delegation to the 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church affirms the need for our denomination to seriously consider necessary changes to its structure, its leadership development and credentialing processes, its financial stewardship, its faithfulness, and its relationship to the larger global church. We acknowledge and appreciate the hard work done thus far by our bishops and the various agencies and study teams to produce The Call to Action, the Study of Ministry, the Interim Operations Team report, and other proposals for change within The United Methodist Church, but we have reservations that the current recommendations will not produce the intended results.

Wisconsin Delegation Statement.

Planning Consultant Available for Churches

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

What consultant did your church use when it engaged in the most recent strategic planning exercises? Courtesy of Duke Divinty’s Call and Response blog

Spiritual discernment is messy, often slow and extremely complicated. Most churches want neat, quick and simple. Spiritual discernment begins by admitting we do not have the solutions. Spiritual discernment invites thinking, praying and reflecting at a level that most of us studiously avoid.

Read the full article from EthicsDaily.com:  Why Strategic Planning for Churches Wastes Your Time

What Action Are We Called To?

December 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Recommended reading and consideration for the United Methodist’s, and applicable to the future of all mainline denominations, Ben Gosden asks, “What Are We Doing Here?: Questioning Our Methodist Mission”

…of the Call to Action statement offered by the Council of Bishops – It’s a major structural change that seeks to address the excess and inefficiency identified as a primary source of our “lack of vitality.” But just as the Methodist church has done before, it adopts major practices from the American culture to find a source of providence. The structural changes promise a priority on the building of congregations. We’re no longer to be a connectional church as much as we’re called to be a collection of churches. But the problem is, as far as I can tell, we still don’t address our lack of vision and self-awareness.

From Ben’s blog, Covered In The Master’s Dust