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.
Browse category by SEXUALITY
SEXUALITY AND GENDER

SEXUALITY AND GENDER

July 19, 2017 By dwayman

In the fall of 2016 The New Atlantis published a study introduced by the editor as:

Editor’s Note: Questions related to sexuality and gender bear on some of the most intimate and personal aspects of human life. In recent years they have also vexed American politics. We offer this report — written by Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, an epidemiologist trained in psychiatry, and Dr. Paul R. McHugh, arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century — in the hope of improving public understanding of these questions. Examining research from the biological, psychological, and social sciences, this report shows that some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence. The report has a special focus on the higher rates of mental health problems among LGBT populations, and it questions the scientific basis of trends in the treatment of children who do not identify with their biological sex. More effort is called for to provide these people with the understanding, care, and support they need to lead healthy, flourishing lives.”

The credentials of these authors are not in question, and the science has not been refuted.  However, such publication as The New Atlantis, is described by editor Adam Keiper as being written from a “particularly American and conservative way of thinking about both the blessings and the burdens of modern science and technology.”

IT’S A TINY PART OF WHO HE IS

IT’S A TINY PART OF WHO HE IS

June 29, 2017 By dwayman

By Denny Wayman

Rik Cryderman grew up in a Free Methodist parsonage.  I first met him in seminary and enjoyed his intellect and depth of love. His journey of faith and life did not take the path he expected when as a seminarian he first recognized that he was gay. Now in his 60s his daughter, best selling author Kelle Hampton, blogged an interview with her father and asked him questions that help all of us.  You can read it on her blog here if you want to explore both her journey and his.

I connected with Rik and asked if I could take some of his thoughts he expressed to his daughter and post them here.  He graciously consented.  I do so in hopes that as we discuss sexuality and same-sex attraction we do so not as an issue, but as persons, equally beloved of God.  As I said here: “As Christians who have experienced God’s compassionate love and who are committed to extend that love to our “neighbor”, homosexuality is not an “issue” we discuss dispassionately, but rather we compassionately enter into the experience of those whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual.”

I’ve only taken the part of the conversation between Kelle and Rik that I found most interesting.  Kelle’s words are in bold and Rik’s are in italics:

What is your first memory of any attraction to men and when and how did you finally identify as being gay?

INTERNET PORNOGRAPHY HATES WOMEN

INTERNET PORNOGRAPHY HATES WOMEN

June 2, 2017 By dwayman

A culture that claims to value women while also accepting pornography is self deceptive. The research on the damage that pornography is doing to our culture is clear.  Here is a representative website that has information.  In this post the FIGHT THE NEW DRUG website suggests an insightful way to talk to children and youth about the damage.

In part it says:

Pornography.

It’s been directly linked to physical problems like early erectile dysfunctiondepressionirreversible relationship issueshuman trafficking, and sexual exploitation. There’s a huge amount of information—you can find a lot of it in our blog—detailing the problems associated with porn, all of which are worth our attention. These are all issues that have arisen alongside the internet, which has made porn both more available and affordable than ever, and opened the physical and mental pathways to ever more degrading, extreme content.

Understanding the real-world negative effects of the global porn industry on individuals and society is important, but it requires some expertise and detailed explanation of some pretty complicated issues. That’s not too hard for most of us, but if understanding the problems with porn requires a mostly-developed brain, how can we teach kids that porn has unavoidable downsides before they’ve already been exposed to some of the worst of what the internet has to offer?

CHASTITY AND HOMOSEXUALITY in CATHOLIC CATECHISM

CHASTITY AND HOMOSEXUALITY in CATHOLIC CATECHISM

May 10, 2017 By dwayman

In the Catechism of the Catholic church this is the teaching on Chastity and Same-Sex attracted people.  What do you find that you appreciate about this teaching and what questions does this raise for you:

 

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity.

WHY AREN’T MORE CHRISTIANS OUTRAGED BY SEXUAL HARASSMENT SCANDALS?

WHY AREN’T MORE CHRISTIANS OUTRAGED BY SEXUAL HARASSMENT SCANDALS?

April 25, 2017 By dwayman

Let’s discuss what we should be saying as Free Methodists – comment below.

In a recent article in RELEVANT magazine, Samantha Field asks the question:  Why aren’t more Christians Outraged by Sexual Harassment Scandals?  Turning the question on its head she walks with us through her own experience of rape and harassment and points out that in the church the objectification of women, the subjugation of women and the excusing of leaders works together in ways that can cause the church to be silent when we should be speaking out.

This paragraph is something that caused the FMC to rewrite our discipline in cases of Pastoral sexual abuse to make sure that we care for the victim of these who abuse their position of trust and influence:

“Christians tend to place more value on our male leaders than on the women they hurt. Just this week, the #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear tag was trending on Twitter. In the time I was reading it, the number of women who said “Don’t tell anyone he assaulted you, or you’ll harm his ministry,” was in the dozens. As heartbreaking as that is, it’s all too common. I have been told—twice—that telling the truth about a man harassing me or assaulting me would “harm the Lord’s work,” and I should keep silent about it.

No one wants to acknowledge that our leaders have feet of clay, but it seems that when our political or religious goals are at stake,

SEXUAL IDENTITY from HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHRISTIAN by Mark Yarhouse

SEXUAL IDENTITY from HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHRISTIAN by Mark Yarhouse

April 17, 2017 By dwayman

According to Dr. Yarhouse in his excellent book, the  crux of the discussion rests in two conflicting “scripts” of how we come to identify ourselves.  This is the second chapter of the book.  You can read the entire digest here.

This is how Dr. Yarhouse suggests we discuss SEXUAL IDENTITY:

  1. Chapter two: Why is sexual identity the Heart of the Matter?  We’ve allowed our culture to choose the terms of the debate…Both liberals and conservatives focus too much energy on the cause of homosexuality…Both liberals and conservatives make their arguments as if the gospel hinged on these claims….My goal here is to do nothing less than change the entire conversation.
    1. What is sexual identity. Sexual identity is about labels.  But the source of a person’s identity can be complicated. What might influence a person to use one label over another?  Here is a list of some of the things that could influence one’s identity: Your sexual attractions; Whether you were born male or female; How masculine or feminine you feel; What you intend to do with the attractions you have; What you actually do with the attractions you have; Your beliefs and values about your sexual attractions and behaviors….two men…One young man experienced a pretty strong same-sex attraction.  He identified himself as gay and Christian.  We talked about the way different things might impact identity and labeling.  He shared that his values and his same-sex attractions were “trump” for him outweighing everything else. 
SELLING SEX SHORT

SELLING SEX SHORT

April 11, 2017 By dwayman

An academic work has been produced by Dr. Meagan Tyler which looks at the “pornographication of culture or the mainstreaming of pornography”.  Though she is writing from a specific perspective that provides solutions with which we may or may not agree, the introduction of her book Selling Sex Short is an important analysis of Western culture.  As a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in the school of management at RMIT she looks at sex from both a cultural as well from an economic perspective.

 

Part of the INTRODUCTION:

This book aims to explore and explain the model of sexuality currently

being constructed through the industries of pornography and sexology (the

“science of sex”) in the West, in particular the United States (US), the

United Kingdom (UK) and Australia. The book focuses on five trends

which have occurred or intensified during the last decade, namely: the

pornographication of culture or the mainstreaming of pornography, the rise

of extreme and violent sex acts in mass-marketed pornography, the

resurgence of sexology, the creation of “female sexual dysfunction”

(FSD), and the rise of “porn stars” as sex experts. While there is now an

emerging body of literature, both popular and academic, which is

beginning to document some of these trends only a handful of sources

currently engage in critical feminist analysis.

THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY

THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY

April 6, 2017 By dwayman

 

In a recent article at one of our FM schools’ newspaper a student stated ““My identity has never been addressed…”  This student is described by the author of the article:  “When [student] first came to [the FM university] they’d still been in the closet. It wasn’t until around February 2017 that [student] began to identify as nonbinary, use they/them pronouns and, eventually, paint their nails and wear makeup as well.”  The article goes on to quote the assertion of a student that the  “[the school] ‘respects homosexuals’ but does not affirm ‘queer love’ on the same level that it affirms heterosexual love….”  “I don’t know how long we as a campus are going to be able to do this,” he said. “I think we’re going to have to choose.”

To use the same language as this student, this is a binary solution that requires a Christian to either be for or against a person who chooses to make their identity in their gender or sexual attraction.  This is not a true solution.  The culture has decided that loving someone in Christ is not acceptable.  The culture has decided that love must be conditional and that the person being loved determines on what condition Christians are and can love and respect them.   That perspective does not from Christ or from Scripture.  Christ calls us to love all.  No exception.  That is our Christian Identity.

This identity in Christ as being one of Holy Love,

CELIBACY and SINGLENESS

CELIBACY and SINGLENESS

April 5, 2017 By dwayman

Celebrating and Supporting the Lifestyle and Gifts of Celibacy and Singleness

By: Cameron Shepherd Beyenberg

Identity and Isolation

On June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUS) decided with a 5-4 split decision that same-sex couples can legally and civilly marry in each state throughout the nation. While this decision stimulated a celebration amidst the LGBTQ community, it has prompted a dramatic reaction from the Church in America as well. For those denominations and congregations that have not sided with this ruling, the conversation has been difficult to say the least. Some have written articles of warning to the Church declaring that if they do not make the right steps, same-sex couples will attack them with lawsuits.1 Others have written ways to explain that although these congregations and religious bodies who do not believe in same-sex marriage are safe, that the decision is a spiritual attack on the American Church.2

With all of this stated the foundation of the conversation seems to be faulty and missing key factors that can aid to a healthier, Biblical, and Christ-centered/Missio Dei perspective. First and foremost, as a Christian, my identity is rooted in Christ: in His birth, life, teachings, actions, death, resurrection, ascension, and promises. As a child of the Most High King, I recognize that there are certain attributes in this world that contribute to how I can be described.