Thursday, May 1, 2008

Homosexuality and Methodism

Well, I haven't posted since April 7th. I know its not smart to start a blog, then not post anything for over 3 weeks. I do have an excuse, I was writing a paper for the Methodist class. The good thing is that the class was a Methodist class and the paper is on homosexuality. So I get to write about a hot topic.

The governing book of the United Methodist Church is the Book of Discipline. Under the Social Principles, there is a statement that says "The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching." This has come to be known as the "incompatibility phrase." Notice that the practice is what is not condoned. This is an important point. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with someone having a homosexual orientation or even homosexual temptaions. Its homosexual practice that's the issue. Homosexual behavior is one among many other practices that are incompatible with Christian teaching. While the majority of Methodists (lay people and clergy) support the "incompatibility phrase," many Methodists do not agree with it and are trying to change the wording.

I oppose homophobia and "gay bashing." I agree with the Book of Discipline when it claims "Homosexual person no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth." The prhase often applied to homosexuality (and many other sins) is: "hate the sin love the sinner." That prhase is an unwelcoming, overused and unhelpful platitude. The main reason is that the person saying it never says it about themselves. Shouldn't we hate all sin, including our own? Orientation is not the sin, but "hate the sin love the sinner" implies that it is.

A Homosexual orientation creates temptation in certain individuals that can lead them into sinful behavior, but it does not have to. Any temptation can be resisted. Genetic or social presupposition to sinful behavior does not authorize that behavior. Someone presupposed to drinking too much alcohol can choose whether or not guzzle down too many beers to get drunk. Someone presupposed to theft can choose whether or not to steal that candy bar at Walmart. A heterosexual male can decide whether or not to engage in sexual sin (before, during or after marriage) just as a homosexual person can decide whether or not to engage in sexual sin.

Over the next few blogs, I'll share more about what the Bible says about homosexuality.


Angela said...

Excellent blog topic! I find myself in situations more often than I care to where I have had to "defend" my beliefs on homosexuality, based on biblical truths (I must admit I'm not very eloquent when it comes to this). I have used Talbot's words many times and now your insight will be so helpful to me too. Thanks Rich!--Angela Hynds

J. R. Miller said...

I grew up in a UMC and know the debate well. I recently crafted my own response to this issue in an article titled, "Homosexuality: Is it in the Jeans or in the Genes. If you have the chance, read it and let me know what you think.