This is an old, ongoing issue, but it makes me want to puke.
Methodist Church and GLBT
We need new language. When such vastly different, even openly hostile factions are using the the same language and source material to support their positions, it becomes meaningless. Such loaded, simplistic
terms and phrases as "I believe in God," "I am a Christian," or "I'm a
member of a Methodist church," are an invitation to misunderstanding.
As much as everyone believes their own definition is THE ONLY, INDISPUTABLE, TRUE DEFINITION it's just not so. And simply writing off your adversary as stupid, wrong, misguided, led astray by the devil, etc. doesn't help.
Consider that people who identify themselves as very "Christian" are/have been:
For peace and for war ("Just War" with God on our side!)
For racial equality, harmony and unity and slavery, segregation and genocide
Pro-Choice and Pro-Life
Anti Death Penalty and Pro Death Penalty
Welcoming and affirming of GLBT people and hatefully anti-gay
Environmentalists and Deregulation industrialists
Saying "I'm a Christian and I believe in God," to someone who is sensitive to all the horror and injury caused in the name of God and Christianity, is like calling yourself a clansman to an African American: "I'm in the KKK, but I'm not one of those fundamentalist, idiot KKKers. I'm not racist, or anti-semitic or homophobic, and I'm committed to non-violence. And all TRUE KKK members share my beliefs."
When I tally up all the good that has resulted primarily from religious motivation, (As apposed to compassionate secular humanists, who just happen to organize through a church) and weigh it against all the harm that has resulted from religion being (mis)used to justify and sanction behavior ranging from cruelty and disrespect all the way to atrocity, I know that I need a new language to talk about my understanding of the primary creative principle and unifying force, and my obligation concerning relation to my fellow inhabitants of the world.
PLEASE: Don't reply with a defense of a position one way or the other by quoting scripture. Both sides do it, both sides can argue about context, interpretations, translations, the merits of a fundamentalist, literal interpretation and the rationale for believing in an evolving gospel and co-creationism. I've heard it. I get it. I don't care to debate it. Feel free to pray for me if you must. I appreciate your good intentions.
P.S. I'm not singling out Christians. Jews and Muslims certainly have their own problems with disputed interpretations. I'm just talking about my own experience.
The song book at Walker Church contains this brilliant song by member Howard Krantz. It's called "Bye Bye Jesus"
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