What's Next for Queer Methodists?
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.” - Galatians 6:7-10
The special session of General Conference voted to approve the Traditional Plan. This move was not completely unexpected, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t painful. This move enables a sort of Inquisition process focused on eliminating LGBTIQ folks and allies from the UMC. Which has lead me to think about my place in this church.
Yesterday’s vote doesn’t change my reasons for being in this church. It doesn’t alter my call. It doesn’t undo the work I’ve done for God. But it does reveal that my time in this institution made by human hands is limited. If I’m not outright given the boot, a long trial awaits. And that reality is painful. It is painful to have to find a new home, it is painful to not be wanted by my fellow members of Christ’s Body. I’ve grieved about this for years, but now the reality of rejection is impossible to ignore. Rather than sit in the grief, I’m anxious to get started on building something new.
What is God up to? Will what’s next have bishops? Will our something new actually be a return to the Anglican Communion? Can our new logo have a rainbow? Will we change the way our clergy are formed and called? Will we choose to be a global church again?
There is a new chance to sow new seeds. Will we choose to sow to the Spirit and bring forth new life? Will we build a house where all can grow? Where all can seek God’s face? I think what’s new is already being built.
I see the new in the church planting work of Tyler Sit, I hear the theology of our new home in the work of Jay Williams and Pamela Lightsey, I see God at work in the faithful witness of Hannah Bonner, in the detail oriented work Dorothee Benz, in the powerful preaching JJ Warren. The new is already being shaped in the hearts and minds of God’s beloved rejects of the UMC. Seeds of what’s next are already being sown in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. So let’s not grow weary grieving over a field that isn’t prepared for the bounty we are going to harvest in Christ. We are fresh wine, we can’t be held back by wineskins that are old.
For too long we have allowed the words of homophobia to stop us from realizing all the beauty we hold in Christ. For too long we have hidden our lamps under the bushes of bad theology, it’s time to let our lights shine. No more hiding. No more shrinking in fear. No more growing weary in doing good, if we do not give up the work we do will be a blessing to all - even the people who choose not to see Christ in us. Be strong siblings.