Many of you have heard me say that people of faith do not agree about many different subjects. Even when we have spent time studying scripture, church history, tradition, and experience, we still discover that we disagree. My plea generally is for us to consider our faith as we seek to understand difficult subjects. One of the often-heated debates involves same-sex marriage and all its related issues. Religious leaders shout loudly and insist that they are speaking for God. Courts are called upon to make decisions about whether or not a business person can refuse to bake a cake, provide flowers, or otherwise make business
decisions based upon the sexuality of another person. The United Methodist Church, like many others, continues to grapple with this and we are not all of one mind.
We are a Global Church and the only body that can make an official statement is our General Conference that meets every four years and includes delegates from all over the world. In 2016, acting upon a recommendation from our Bishops, the General Conference established the “Commission on a Way Forward”. That commission was to study all the issues, including our Book of Discipline, and provide a recommendation for how the United Methodist Church can and should move forward. In February 2019, a special session of General Conference will be held to receive and act upon their report.
Whether or not you are concerned about the “official” position of the United Methodist Church, I do hope that you know what you believe and more importantly why you believe it. I have been reading a small book called Living Faithfully, Human Sexuality and The United Methodist Church that is designed to be used as the basis for a four-session small group study or discussion. I want to invite us to participate in that study and explore the various faith positions.
My goal is that this would be a safe place where we listen to each other with open minds as we explore various opinions and understandings. We may finish this time together with the same opinions we had before, but we might better understand why others believe differently than we do. We may discover that our viewpoint has changed.
Below are the specific dates and topics and information about ordering or purchasing the book. I look forward to having my opinions and understandings stretched as we study, talk together and listen to each other. Please consider joining me and others for this important conversation.
Living Faithfully Group Study
Two sessions offered (please choose a session most convenient for you):
Monday nights 7:00 – 8:30 pm OR Tuesday afternoons 1 – 2:30 pm
Please let Pastor Beverly or the church office know if you would like us to order a book for you, or you may order the book yourself. It is available in paperback for $12.99. (Kindle or electronic editions cost less).
#1 Is the Practice of Homosexuality Incompatible with Christian Teaching?
Mon, Oct 15th 7-830pm or Tues, Oct 16th 1-230pm
#2 Is Same-Gender Marriage Compatible with Christian Teaching?
Mon, Oct 29th 7-830pm or Tues, Oct 30th 1-230pm
#3 Is Ordaining Practicing Homosexuals Compatible with Christian Teaching?
Mon, Nov 5th 7-830pm or Tues, Nov 13th 1-230pm
#4 Where Are We Now?
Mon, Nov 19th 7-830pm or Tues, Nov 27th 1-230pm