These conversations are not statements of our doctrine as expressed in the Book of Discipline, nor are they guidance provided by the Study Commission on Doctrine (SCOD), but they are intended to be open and respectful discussions on various present-day topics. Our intention is not to limit discussion but to elevate it by assuring that God’s love and respect is always expressed. For more information click ABOUT.
Month: March,2017
“RE-DEFINING” MARRIAGE

“RE-DEFINING” MARRIAGE

March 28, 2017 By dwayman

May 14, 2012 by Dr. David Kendall

Last week our President announced the end of his personal evolution of thought on same-sex marriage by endorsing it.   He acknowledges the deeply divisive nature of the issue and thus the differing conclusions to which others have, and will, come.  He grounded his conclusions in a love ethic that endeavors to practice the Golden Rule and claimed that his thinking is rooted in our common Judeo-Christian heritage.  Of course, many others disagree, respectfully or not.  I am among those who disagree, respectfully.

What has fascinated me most is the way the question has been framed, in a way which involves a logical fallacy—if anyone really cares about such things—and also virtually precludes discussion.

The President’s announcement brought adulation and praise from many.  Almost without exception (I didn’t see any) the praise came because our President took a stand for equality and for the freedom of people to choose for themselves.  The President affirmed “marriage equality” and the individual’s right to choose whom to love and marry.  There you have it—it’s a question of equality and freedom.  Who can argue against such things?  Who wants to stand up and say, “I do not believe all people alike should be able to marry!”?  Or, “I believe someone other than you should decide whom you can love and marry!”?

But this way of framing the question “begs’ the question (the logical fallacy).  To “beg” the question is to assume a part of what you want to prove as a basis for proving it. 

HUMAN SEXUALITY – BOARD OF BISHOPS

HUMAN SEXUALITY – BOARD OF BISHOPS

March 28, 2017 By dwayman

THE FREE METHODIST CHURCH ON HUMAN SEXUALITY

Board of Bishops
Free Methodist Church-USA

The position of the Free Methodist Church (FMC) is clear and straightforward. We embrace the Bible’s portrayal of marriage as depicted in Genesis, and affirmed throughout the Scriptures. The plan of God from the beginning provides for the heterosexual union of a man and a woman in a bond of life-long covenant faithfulness.

In our Membership Covenant, members of the FMC commit to honor and support God-ordained institutions, among which are marriage and family. The “marriage” cited here reflects that found in our Scriptures (Par. 159, p. 22, 2015 Book of Discipline).

Our understanding and commitments are further elaborated in chapter three of 2015 Book of Discipline (Paragraph 3311.A, pp. 53-54). Several comments in relation to these teachings seem appropriate.

As we are all aware, the Bible’s view of normative sexuality now conflicts openly and directly with the prevailing norms of our culture. Over the last years, the President of the United States changed his mind on same-sex marriage, the Legislatures of many states change their laws, and the Supreme Court ruled that marriage between same-sex couples is legal. Behind these recent shifts stands the assumption that sexual identity, practice and lifestyle now rise to the level of human rights and equal justice.

Along the way, the FMC, not least the Board of Bishops (BoB), has responded consistently in affirming continuing commitment to our Scriptures both on matters of sexuality per se and on our mission in the world God loves and redeems.

RELATIONSHIPS, SEXUALITY and CULTURE

RELATIONSHIPS, SEXUALITY and CULTURE

March 28, 2017 By dwayman

An Exegetical Framework for Romans 1:18-32 The Decomposition of Human Persons, Relationships, Sexuality, and Culture by Bishop David W. Kendall

Romans 1:18-32 is one of the key texts that clearly teaches that same sex relationships are contrary to God’s plan for human life, a sign of the disorder in the human person, and of the disintegration and decomposition of the creation.

It is important to understand this text for several reasons. First, there are few and perhaps no texts in either testament that speak as directly and clearly about sexual relations between members of the same sex. Second, this text is often cited either to corroborate or to correct a view of sexuality that the text does not, in fact, reflect or teach. Third, to understand clearly what Paul is asserting here can help us respond to same sex identity, orientation and relationships in ways that are more truthful and gracious than is most common, and in ways that allow the gospel to be good news indeed.

Broad Contextual Considerations
In the immediate foreground of the passage are these famous and powerful declarations:

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”

THE MUTUAL SPIRITUAL BENEFIT

THE MUTUAL SPIRITUAL BENEFIT

March 27, 2017 By dwayman

In the E3 conferences, our bishops explained that missions is not one way, but that God is doing a mighty work in bringing people from all over the world to be our neighbors.  Many of these are Christians, while others come with varying beliefs and degrees of openness to Christ.

As our churches become increasingly multicultural we are preparing for our unity in eternity when “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:9).

What are you doing to become one with all those of the various nations, languages, and tribes that are immigrating to our country?

“THEY” are “US” –

“THEY” are “US” –

March 27, 2017 By dwayman

In his book US vs US, Andrew Marin did an extensive study and found what he had experienced in his own care for those with same-sex attraction.   This is how he says it in the first chapter of his book.

Chapter 1: There is No They – 86% of LGBTs were raised in a faith community from the ages of 0 to 18

  1. Raised in a Religious Community:
    1. 75% General American Population
    2. 86% LGBT
  2. Chapter 2: The Great Exodus: 54% of LGBT people leave their religious Community after the age of 18:  “I left the church because I couldn’t find one person who cared to listen to my story.  I mean really
    1. Leaving A Religious Community after the age of 18:
      1. 27% General American Population
      2. 54% LGBT
    2. Chapter 3: The New Prodigals
      1. 76% of LGBT people are open to returning to their religious community and it’s practices: “I would come back if I had the strength to do so.”
      2. Open to Return
        1. 9% General American population
        2. 76% LGBT community: This total includes one-third of LBTs raised in theologically conservative faith communities.

The opportunity to love and invite our friends and family into our congregations is obvious.  What are you doing?

SPIRITUAL FRIENDSHIP – Wesley Hill

SPIRITUAL FRIENDSHIP – Wesley Hill

March 26, 2017 By dwayman

Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian by Wesley Hill (Brazos, 2015 )Wesley continues his vulnerable invitation to walk with him as he walks with Christ.  As a celibate gay Christian, Wesley explores the difficulty of being a part of the church when spiritual relationships become secondary to marriage and biological families.  You may purchase the book here.

  1. Part 1 Reading Friendship
    1. An Eclipse of Friendship
    2. “I love You Because You’re Mine
  • The Transformation of Friendship
  1. Part 2 Living Friendship
    1. “A Piece of Ice Held Fast in the Fist”
    2. Friendship Is a Call to Suffer
  • Patterns of the Possible
US vs US – Andrew Marin

US vs US – Andrew Marin

March 26, 2017 By dwayman

Us Versus Us: The Untold Story of Religion and the LGBT Community by Andrew Marin (Navpress, 2016).    Waiting for permission to post digest.  What follows is an abbreviated outline.  You can purchase the book here.

  1. Introduction: 
    1. Most LGBT people regularly attended a faith community for the majority of their youth.
    2. Most left the church after they came out.
  • Most still believed in God and were interested in one day finding a faith community.
  1. Most were less concerned with a church’s theology of homosexuality than they were with how they were treated by individual Christians at church.
  1. Chapter 1: There is No They – 86% of LGBTs were raised in a faith community from the ages of 0 to 18
    1. Raised in a Religious Community:
      1. 75% General American Population
      2. 86% LGBT
    2. Chapter 2: The Great Exodus: 54% of LGBT people leave their religious Community after the age of 18:  “I left the church because I couldn’t find one person who cared to listen to my story.  I mean really
      1. Leaving A Religious Community after the age of 18:
        1. 27% General American Population
        2. 54% LGBT
      2. Chapter 3: The New Prodigals
        1. 76% of LGBT people are open to returning to their religious community and it’s practices: “I would come back if I had the strength to do so.”
        2. Open to Return
          1. 9% General American population
          2. 76% LGBT community: This total includes one-third of LBTs raised in theologically conservative faith communities.
LOVE IS AN ORIENTATION- Andrew Marin

LOVE IS AN ORIENTATION- Andrew Marin

March 26, 2017 By dwayman

Love is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community by Andrew Marin (InterVarsity, 2009) Waiting for permission to post digest.  What follows is an abbreviated outline. You may purchase the book here.

  1. Forward: I decided to fully immerse myself in the GLBT community. My ultimate goal was to become, as I put it back then, “the most involved gayest straight dude on the face of the earth.”
  2. Chapter 1 We Don’t Need Your God!
    1. They’re just kids: Research now reports that the average age of someone who first realizes  same-sex attraction is thirteen years old….
    2. The battlefield of coming out: Most adolescents experiencing same-sex attraction are too frightened to say anything to anybody for fear of what might happen,
  • What happens on the other side of realization? What happens in the long run to a person who prays the same prayer every night and wakes up every morning not having that prayer answered? … The majority of GLBT people whom I have met over my nine years of being immersed in their community – believers and nonbelievers, black and white, men and women- have told me the same things:  when they first realized their same sex thoughts and attractions they started to pray that God would take those unwanted feelings away.  Even atheists have told me that they were willing to put their unbelief in God aside in the hope that he would make them straight like everyone else…
    1. Preconceived Ideas: …There is an undercurrent of preexisting negative perceptions of Christianity’s traditional belief system
    2. What Can Christians do?: The Christian community is by and large well intentioned
  1. Chapter 2.
WASHED AND WAITING- Wesley Hill

WASHED AND WAITING- Wesley Hill

March 26, 2017 By dwayman

Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill (Zondervan, 2010). Hill has given permission for this digest.  Much has been omitted from this digest and it is recommended that his book be purchased.  You can purchase the book here.

  1. Introduction: This books is neither about how to live faithfully as a practicing homosexual person nor about how to live faithfully as a fully healed or former homosexual man or woman…This book is about what it means…how practically, a non-practicing but still-desiring homosexual Christian can “prove, live out, and celebrate” the grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in homosexual terms.  This book is written mainly for those gay Christians who are already convinced that their discipleship to Jesus necessarily commits them to the demanding, costly obedience of choosing not to nurture their homosexual desires, whether through private fantasies or physical relationships with other gay or lesbian people….”There are probably nearly as many Christians with homosexual feelings who do not believe that homosexual sex is right for Christians as there are those who are advocating its acceptance.”…The Christian’s struggle with homosexuality is unique in many ways, but not completely so.  The dynamics of human sinfulness and divine mercy and grace are the same for all of us, regardless of the particular temptations or weaknesses we face.  In my experience the effort to live faithfully as a gay Christian has involved me in three main battles.