These are my thoughts on the recent United Methodist Church (UMC) decision to continue to not allow the marriages of same sex couples in the church, and any openly LGBTQ+ person to be ordained as a pastor.
So I love the UMC with all my heart. I also love women and men (romantically) and I don't personally think those two sentences contradict each other, despite any decision our conference recently made. But I also do not want any of us to be in pain or the church to break. I believe there were parts of the conference's vote that I did not previously understand, and I think we should. I just want us all to be okay as much as we can, as impossible as that seems.
From my view the UMC is meant to be a home for everyone, just as it was for me and my family when we left our chaotic lives each week to try to find some peace and safety in that building I love.
I am so grateful for the good relationships I have with the pastors that have worked in our church. I consider them my mentors and family.
I am very grateful that they accepted me, especially when others may have not.
So it just makes me very sad. The whole situation makes me very sad, especially as so many people are hurt and people are saying the church is breaking.
From my personal view, the United Methodist Church is full of love that embraces everyone. From my historical research point of view, the United Methodist Church has in the good times, embraced people all over the world, and has many times stood for social justice in a way that I think represents the love of our members and God. Of course the research can be biased as much of it has come from United Methodist sources.
We have a social principles book. It is literally a part of our religion to understand the effects of society on its minorities, and stand with them, not reject them.
I think it is very important that we have conferences where it's crucial that we include everyone's voices, even if I do not agree on things others may think. So when I heard about the decision, I looked into the stories of some of the different churches who voted, to understand.
I think it is very important every country that the UMC represents has their voices heard, and power over how they want to run their churches. It is very crucial to recognize the wants of our churches that have come from countries impacted by horrid forces that we our taught to stand against such as colonialism, as is the case for places like Sierra Leone, and other African nations.
Just in writing this post I learned about the colonial and religious history of some of these nations. I think in many situations it is helpful to understand the history before a decision was made.
I think one of the ways you show respect to people and what happens when you truly see them as your partner in Christ, is you respect their say. So to not accept a vote that is inconsistent to our beliefs, can be inconsistent to our faith.
I know I do not know every situation and I have not lived every life. But it is not, in my opinion, any church's place to impose their practices on a group of people, especially when those practices were not always accepted by the church itself and have large cultural implications to a global political system that has much to accept about its own past.
As I've grown in the LGBTQ+ community, I have learned a lot about different cultures acceptance or response to the existence of us queer people, and just any people. I think in any society, people are just trying to survive and live the best way they know how. I think everyone has the right to how they try to survive and how they want to live. It is also not my place to judge another persons interpretation of the scripture and I will defend their right to run their church how they want, as it is there's.
But I also know there are fellow queer people in every nation or part of the world, and I want them to be safe and have a place of worship that accepts them.
I just want the best for everyone. And I believe that is what most of us here want for the church.
This past year I have talked with many fellow Christians, some of which have felt it was right to look me in the eyes and warn me that my nature is a disappointment to God and will only lead to my ruin. I have to believe most of the time they are just trying to help, even though sometimes they cause much hurt.
I am not sure how everything is going to go. I know some universities have renounced their allegiance to the UMC, I know a lot of UMC churches are considering splitting away from the sect.
For me, it would be very nice if they allowed LGBTQ+ marriages as I have grown up in the church, love the church, and have always wanted to get married in my own church like the rest of my family has.
I also considered being a pastor for awhile. I am not sure at all what I am doing for my career, but the fact that I do not even have that choice, as if they automatically know I am not a good representation of God and would not serve people well...it's disheartening. Our faith is something I was willing to devote my life towards because I believe it helps people, that it helps them feel love and peace.
Because that's what matters to me.
As I read more about this issue across the world, I am learning more about what United Methodists have done in the past. I think what happens now, for each of us, will be a testament to our own faith, in how we treat each other.
I think we can try to summarize all our thoughts into one main thing the church believes. But to me the church and of course in any group, are individuals with different lives. And I really just hope as impossible as it seems that we are all going be okay.
In terms of the structural solution within the UMC administrative bodies, I do now know enough. I have many thoughts, but it is a lot to take on so honestly I am in awe of all the people working to fix it in that way.