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
Excerpt from: GOD’S LOVE EXPRESSED AND EXPERIENCED

Excerpt from: GOD’S LOVE EXPRESSED AND EXPERIENCED

March 30, 2017 By dwayman

This is taken from the larger work published here:  God’s Love Expressed and Experienced

“An important premise of Wesleyan Theology is that we have faith in God that is not driven by fear, but rather by trusting in the power of God’s sanctifying work. This faith provides space in the individual’s life as well as in the church for God to do His work. According to the Pew Study of 2013, 51% of persons who self-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual are actively involved in religion.2 The opportunity to care for such persons and trust in God rather than fear, judge or exclude such fellow seekers is our God-given opportunity. The deep longing of every person’s heart is to be accepted and loved. This longing is not only a longing for God’s love but for the love of family and church just as we are. When the church singles out particular groups of people from full inclusion in the community of faith, the church refuses the prevenient grace of God. To experience the saving and sanctifying grace of God, every person needs to know that he or she is loved by God, by God’s family and hopefully by their own parents.3 Each person also needs to experience the support of a community that is willing to listen to the pressures and tensions of his or her inner self, or soul. Though not all pastors and congregations may understand particular pressures and tensions in the inner life of a lesbian,

LGBT – ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

LGBT – ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

March 29, 2017 By dwayman

Annotated Bibliography of Select LGBT References

Rev. Bruce N. G. Cromwell, Ph.D.
SCOD 2013

Bell, Rob. Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007.

Rob Bell is, well, Rob Bell. This is a very readable and compelling book that is more about relationships than sexuality per se. Roughly 200 pages (when you include the end-notes, Scripture citations, and the like) it’s a book that I’d certainly recommend but not one that necessarily speaks loudly into this particular conversation. Could it help someone improve their marriage? Absolutely. Could it help us in formulating a compassionate response to the LGBT question? Perhaps, but not directly.

And to be honest, the fact that it’s Rob might turn some people off. I like this work of his. I don’t remember anything in it that made me squirm or get queasy. But it might not be the best thing for some people to be handed a book but someone whose name is inflammatory in certain circles. Just a thought.

Brown, Peter. The Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1988.

I first read this work while working on my doctorate in Patristics. Peter Brown is a genius when it comes to Christian antiquity, and I pretty much trust his analysis and scholarship at face value.

HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHURCH HISTORIC (all)

HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHURCH HISTORIC (all)

March 29, 2017 By dwayman

HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHURCH HISTORIC – Complete document
What Does the Tradition Component of the Quadrilateral Have to Say Regarding the LGBT Debate?

Free Methodist Study Commission on Doctrine, 2014 Dr. Bruce N. G. Cromwell

Philipp Melanchthon, the great German reformer and quite possibly the first systematic theologian of the Protestant movement, famously said, “In necessary things, unity. In doubtful things, liberty. In all things, charity.”1 As debate surrounding the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) community grows and intensifies, such counsel is no doubt wise and necessary.

While in graduate school I read John Boswell’s work, Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe.2 Boswell gained prominence in 1980 by receiving a National Book Award for his investigation into what he saw as a historically accurate overview of homosexuals, their challenges, and their freedoms up to the fourteenth century.3 Within Same-Sex Unions he tried to demonstrate that in the first millennium of the common era communities had, within the structures of Christianity, actually allowed same-sex couples to cohabitate and live functionally as married. Talking about the cultural ethos of the Greco- Roman world and the development of marriage rites and liturgical practices, Boswell attempted to demonstrate that examples of the recognition and blessing of same-sex unions are neither novel nor exceptional. Unfortunately, his argument lacks a smoking gun and conveys no conclusive proof. We all read from a particular bias, with particular cultural and religious assumptions. Boswell, who sadly died from AIDS- related complications shortly after the release of Same-Sex Unions,

GENDER IDEOLOGY HARMS CHILDREN

GENDER IDEOLOGY HARMS CHILDREN

March 29, 2017 By dwayman

The research on Gender Dysphoria, which is the difficulty experienced in Gender identity is often a politically charged topic with various researchers being contested.  This is one such source.  The credentials of the researchers are not contested but the findings are not acceptable to some within the psychiatric community.  This article is written by three medical doctors;

Michelle A. Cretella, M.D.
President of the American College of Pediatricians

Quentin Van Meter, M.D.
Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians
Pediatric Endocrinologist

Paul McHugh, M.D.
University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital

You can read the original article here.

Their findings in digested form:

1. Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of male and female, respectively – not genetic markers of a disorder. The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species.

2. No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one. No one is born with an awareness of themselves as male or female;

“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.”

“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.