I am in Sedona. Finding places of power and being in them has been a theme of my renewal leave.
Yesterday the United Methodist Church wielded power in a way that slashes hearts.
After decades of wrangling over issues of full inclusion of GLBTQIA people of faith, the corporate body of the church had this to say:
No. No, we will not ordain GLBTQIA children of God. No, we will not allow our pastors to do same-gender weddings. And, we are going to command your bishops to go after those clergy who won’t fall in line and your Boards of Ordained Ministry to be instruments of interrogation.
Thus said the General Conference. By a slim margin. With nearly half the voting body being from outside of the US.
There are so many admonitions written in scripture that the General Conference has determined are not bedrock mandate: Issues of women in leadership, divorce, not stoning our children who disobey. Those kinds of things the church has determined literal interpretation of scripture is not to be.
It seems that love is just too terrifyingly powerful to “allow”.
It is nonsense.
The church cannot contain love. The Body of Christ is called to support and celebrate love as sacred gift. Love is hard work. The church is meant to come alongside and empower people who have the courage to open their hearts to others. Jesus taught plenty about that.
There is snow melting in Sedona.
I know that hearts will melt, too. I know that the movement will make its way into a way of being that claims, celebrates, and supports the glory of each of God’s createds living fully alive and celebrated in community.
But let’s be clear. We are not a United Methodist Church.
We are a movement even now being pushed into new life.
It is time.