I’m a little late to the party, but I love this piece by Trey Hall on how United Methodists can resist schism.
Of course it’s how we deal with the conflict that makes it redemptive or toxic. So as we continue to engage the ongoing set of questions and concerns around human sexuality, let’s do it as maturing disciples of Jesus. For Christ’s sake, let’s be careful with the accusations we make and the metaphors we employ.
For example, let’s not assume, as some do, that because someone has a more conservative hermeneutic when it comes to sexuality or wishes that an openly lesbian Bishop had not been elected, they are a blatantly homophobic hater or a hard-hearted hypocrite. A good faith approach both inspires a genuine openness to hear how someone thinks and feels about the subjects at hand and expects that the other’s journey is as complex as ours.
On the other hand, let’s not assume that supporters of the election of Bishop Oliveto (I quite joyously am one) are petulant children chomping at the bit for church schism (I quite emphatically am not). Let’s not assert, as some have, that the Western Jurisdiction has willfully sent divorce papers to the rest of the Church. The aforementioned good faith approach of actually listening to the testimonies of others will probably dissuade us from such a simplistic charge.
He goes on to make some truly great suggestions about how we can keep our conflicts from being toxic and can also keep from becoming ecclesially myopic in the process.Like Trey, I support fully including GLBTQ people in the life of the church and believe that their sexual orientation is a gift from God. That being said, I’m also aware that I’m in no greater danger of being an asshole than when I know I’m right.
More on that later, but until then, can we all try to remember that, when following Jesus, humble love is always in and judgemental self-righteousness is always, regardless whether we’re right or wrong?
If you’re interested in hearing more from Trey, my interview with him launches next week, where he talks a lot more about what it means to create post-ideological spiritual community.