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.
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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?

RACE RELATIONS IN THE CHURCH

RACE RELATIONS IN THE CHURCH

April 12, 2017 By dwayman

Love L. Sechrest teaches at Fuller Seminary.  In this article she writes on Race Relations in the Church.

In this article she makes this observation:

“Indeed more often these days I find that I want to challenge the whole category of “racial reconciliation,” since I am now profoundly troubled by the phrase. As the earliest generation of evangelical activists articulated it, the concept was complex and nuanced and always included a focus on institutional racism in society along with the discussion of interpersonal relationships. However, recent evangelical discourse about racial reconciliation tends to diminish the notion by focusing only on overcoming personal prejudice while turning a sometimes deliberately blind eye to structural matters of inequality like poverty, education, health outcomes, criminal justice issues, and the like. I prefer to talk about “race relations in the church” as a category for this kind of work rather than to focus on “reconciliation” as an overarching theme. The former surely includes the latter and is broad enough to include a topic like restorative justice, a biblical concept that usually receives short shrift in evangelical discussions of race. In other words, the divisions we face today are not going to be healed by weeping for an hour followed by a hug.”

GENDER WAGE GAP

GENDER WAGE GAP

April 6, 2017 By dwayman

Due to our FMC value of treating men and women with equality, some of this generalized study of the pay gap may not apply.  However, there is much that does.  Here is the conclusion of the article:

“Finding church-wide solutions

In that vein, Simmons encourages churches to intentionally include women in those committees and councils and denominational efforts. “If they have a diaconate, another board, a finance board, board of elders—make sure that there are women who are part of the human resource effort,” she says. “Make sure that there are women there who can make the case: not women who will agree with the men, but women who will make the case. . . . You don’t see enough women in those positions that determine salaries and bonuses and work hours and how you get ordained. You don’t see women in those positions. And until that changes, much of this will never change.”

According to Simmons, another key step in the path to change concerns awareness and discussion among male clergy and staff—not just female. “You have to do both,” she says. “You have to talk to women, but you certainly have to talk to men.”

In her interactions with male pastors, Simmons has “help[ed] them understand what is just, what is fair, and—when their budget increases—who to take care of first, because these are the people who are doing the heavy lifting.”

Ultimately, however, “until women are willing to join the fight for their own liberation and proper pay,

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,

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.
RESOURCE ON SAME-SEX ATTRATION

RESOURCE ON SAME-SEX ATTRATION

March 26, 2017 By dwayman

12/2016  Dr. Denny Wayman

In answer to the request of our Free Methodist family, the Study Commission on Doctrine (SCOD) presents this resource for pastors, parents and parishioners.  The list is certainly not exhaustive and we recognize there is a continuum of opinions and concerns among us as a family of God.  It is not our intention by offering these resources to make them prescriptive, but rather to provide the best recent work so that every pastor, parent and parishioner can be well informed and respond with God’s love rather than with fear or misinformation.  In 2014 Dr. Denny Wayman created a resource in a digested form that, under God’s leadership, provides the same counsel as the majority of authors: God’s love and the guidance of the Holy Spirit are key.  It is available at:  http://fmcusa.org/files/2014/03/Gods-Love-Expressed-Offering-Pastoral-Care-to-LGB-Persons-and-Families.pdf.

In this resource we have explored seven books that present a variety of perspectives and experiences from Christians.  All write from first-hand experience with some bringing their faith in Christ into their same-sex attraction while others bring their professional expertise either as psychologists, practitioners, or researchers.

We would recommend that these books be read in the following order, with the first four being foundational.  However, there may be special interest that would cause a person to go to a specific book first.  Because of this we have provided a comprehensive description of the content of each book.  We thank Dr. Yarhouse and Dr.