I have been a member of the Confessing Movement almost since its beginning. Below is its preface to a UMC post about The General Conference’s vote to defer decisions about the sexuality petitions until a plan could be offered by a commission to be appointed by the Council of Bishops. I have to say I was initially disappointed , as many were by this decision that appeared to lack the resolve to do what we thought our elected delegates had been sent to do…….end this matter and let us move on, however the vote goes. After a few days of prayerful consideration, I believe this may be the right thing to do.
One would have to know how passionate I have been about these matters since the Lord called me explicitly to intercession on behalf of the Church and our culture in 1993 specifically over the matter of homosexuality. Can it be that we get so caught up in our rules and historical practices that we cannot hear the Spirit’s call to consider another way to approach a solution to what is obviously a long standing dilemma with far reaching impact. And we are “the people called Methodists”, after all. Shouldn’t we simply follow our current methods and let God control the outcome? How did the apostles replace Judas. They cast lots. If we truly believe God is in charge why have Conferences and elect delegates and deliberate anyway? Why not just get together and flip a coin or cast lots and let God decide? Because no one believes that this is a case of simply choosing between two equally weighted options, either of which will have negligible impact on the outcome. These are high stakes for most all of us and for the Church. One side will win. One side will lose. Many will be hurt, angry, and wounded. The collateral damage will be significant.
When God released me from the necessity to continue to intercede on behalf of this issue a few years ago he spoke to my heart saying “I love them all. I will work this according to my will that none be humiliated or rejected.” I could not then and cannot now imagine how God would do that. But God is God and I am not so I have watched and waited to see what would come of it all still holding firmly to my belief that God’s Word has not changed and homosexuality is not God’s first or best choice for humanity.
44 years of discussions and our democratic methods have not resolved these issues and they won’t prevent the hurt or collateral damage. I’m the last person I would have believed that God would have changed in regard to these matters and yet, here I am. The Lord is speaking to my heart that there is a way through this that can bring peace and avoid the win-lose scenario. I don’t know what it is but I know God is telling me to “wait”. To “be still, God is going to do something new.” I love and trust God far more than I do the Council of Bishops or even our Conference delegates. And God has given me an unexpected peace. I, like many, will be watching with great interest. But I will be watching, too, with much more hope that the way through will be one that spares individuals, congregations, and the Church the pain that has been inevitable in the way we have been approaching it so far. All these years of praying for our church and culture and so far little has changed in all of it except me. But if God can change my heart in all of this, then just maybe God really is doing something new.
“The Rev. Jerry Kulah of Liberia opposed the motion, saying, “I would like for us to follow the rules and not compromise the integrity of the General Conference.” The motion asking for the bishops’ s direction had passed 428-364. Many of the bishops were notably absent from the last plenary session of the day, and Ough noted the resulting statement was not unanimously endorsed by the Council of Bishops and is not binding.”