For those of you who don’t know I am a member of the United Methodist Church. For the most part, I have been a very proud member for 38 years. This includes years where I attended other types of congregations, took religion classes and did my part to learn more about other religions. I found that the United Methodist Church still made the most sense for me.
When I graduated college I purchased the 2000 United Methodist book of discipline. The book of discipline constitutes the law and doctrine of the UMC. I went through it to see what “we” as a church denomination believe. I wanted to make sure that I really KNEW this religion of mine. I will be honest when I tell you that one of the very first things that I looked for information on was same sex marriage.
Having just spent the last 4 years of my life in college, my eyes had been open to so much. Many people who grew up differently than me. People who came from all different cities, states and countries. Students who had been exposed to ways of life that were different from me. I was reminded over and over again that Diversity is beautiful.
It disappointed me back in 2000 to know that the church I had committed my life to was still not embracing same sex relationships. To me, even then it seemed so far behind the times. Well just a couple of days ago, in 2019, at the United Methodist General Conference, the majority voted to ban clergy and same sex marriage.
Conservatives from around the world voted in favor of “The Traditional Plan.” My social media feed has been filled with friends who are hurt, can’t make sense of it and feel that the church has missed it’s opportunity to make a step forward. I couldn’t agree more.
When I was 20 years old, my sister was 17. Her long-term boyfriend “cheated” on her. I wanted to kill him. I mean it when I say, every single time I was in the same room with him I was filled with rage. I would throw an actual temper tantrum instead of going off on him. My sister would still bring him around and I absolutely hated it. One time, my Dad pulled me upstairs and said to me “are you so perfect that you can judge him?”
I wanted my answer to be yes, but the fact of the matter was that it obviously was no. I mean obviously, I was 21 years old, about to embark on my Senior year of college, of course I had made some questionable decisions! Off the top of my head, I had tattoos, I wasn’t a virgin and I had gambled at a casino.
Here we are nearly 18 years later and I remember like it was yesterday having that conversation with my Dad. I have had many times over the years where I believe that the way I do things is “better” than what others choose. Then I have to pull myself in and remember that isn’t the case. I read a lot of articles yesterday in relation to the decision of the UMC church and sins as stated in the bible.
This is something that I haven’t really thought about in deep detail for a long time. Words I read cut me like a knife!! Do you know how many things I have done in my life that are considered “sins”? I mean, I have 4 tattoos, they are always there…I am literally constantly sinning. I drink beer, for fun and I like it! I lived with men before I was married. I have purchased lavish things, I have gorged on food and in my younger years I dressed “sexy” from time to time.
The one that really got me though was divorce! The bible says that me being divorced is a sin. Worse yet, that getting remarried after divorce is a sin! Furthermore, that whomever marries someone who is divorced is committing adultery! Which means, both my husband and myself, since we both have previous marriages under our belt.
I call B.S. I am 38 years old and I know my relationship with the Lord. I can honestly say, it has never been better. We talk EVERY DAY. He is proud of me and this life that I have built. I believe that he found Paul for me and led me to him.
There are conservatives that are using the words of the bible to their convenience. The bible says “being gay is a sin.” To these people I say, are you so perfect that you can judge? Even IF you believe it is a sin, have you never committed any of the laundry list of items that the bible says are sins? Or is it just super convenient for you that you believe that times have changed enough for sex before marriage, gambling, drinking and being left-handed are no longer sins, but being gay THAT is the one that you know God is standing firm on?