Breaking up is hard to do (except when it is with a Bishop)

bishopI want to start with a disclaimer. I will say thank you to the precious few Bishops in the United Methodist Church who have remained faithful to the vows they took first as pastors and then as Bishops. You are a treasure to me, and to us all. I am not referring to what you have interpreted the vows to mean, or how the words can be twisted to say something unintended, I mean the actual vows as intended. You are faithful men and women of God and are an inspiration to the rest of us, or at least should be. I do not know many of your names to give proper credit, but the fact that I do not is a testament to the leadership and humility that you have shown. For the rest of you, I have held back. I don’t feel like I should anymore.

Let’s start on a light note and address the elephant in the room. The picture is not a Bishop, but indeed of Tim Curry playing the evil Cardinal Richelieu in the Three Musketeers. In many ways he reminds me of many of our bishops. Since that is now done, let’s get on with the unpleasantness.

I believe in the authority of the church. I believe that authority is conferred on the Bishops by Christ, through His bride (the church). I believe in the power of a vow made to God through the church. I believe in the covenants that holds us all together, but especially the covenant that holds pastors and Bishops to each other as they seek to guide us all. I believe that the Holy Spirit speaks through the general conference (somehow, and yes, it is miraculous that it can) to guide the church forward in both the necessary business functions, but also in it’s theological functions. All of this is in line with the United Methodist faith in case anyone was wondering. I just wanted to provide some perspective into this so that whomever chooses to read this has an understanding. I also believe in speaking the truth in love. Sometimes that means plain and blunt speech. This is one of those times.

Our Bishops have called for unity. The General Conference in a move that was a surprise to many, appealed to them for leadership. What they brought forward fell short of leadership in my opinion, but as I said above, I believe in the authority of the church. Despite my misgivings, I had hope. The Bishops gave carefully worded statements and the like and then within 36 hours disagreed on what those statements meant. Some said nothing had changed and that the processes in the BoD were still to be followed. Some said there was a moratorium. some, not having the courage to pick a side and sounding more like political pundits than leaders of our faith, held some sort of middle ground in essence saying nothing. My own Bishop, when questioned about a marriage between two men, one a practicing UMC pastor, used verbal gymnastics to dance around the matter, including his foreknowledge of it. That is not leadership, that is a cop out. Leaders actually lead. That means they are in front risking all, not cowering behind fancy language. Thank you God that Christ did not model this type of leadership and instead gave a clear example to follow.

Of course this is after a Bishop had come to the pulpit to preach at the General Conference and under the guidance of some spirit that was not holy and lied about what the church actually believes. That is not Christian leadership, it is deception that leads us all closer to the pit. All in all, with a few exceptions, our American Bishops seem more like people of gold than people of God. One can not help but wonder how much their salary plays into things since they are in no real risk of losing it. How brave are you when you have everything to lose. That answers leadership. It does not take a lot of courage to talk about oppression, bigotry, the evils of the church, etc. when that same church pays you over a hundred thousand a year to break its rules. Those of you who will not follow the vows you took and the statements that the bishops made are not leaders, you are unrepentant liars who serve a spirit, but not the Holy Spirit. As Jude might say, you have rejected all authority and insulted angels.

We believe that God speaks through the General Conference to guide us as a church. We should believe this anyway. If we don’t then we are willingly part of a system that we acknowledge is not being led by God, through Christ by the Holy Spirit.  That is a much larger problem. You though have chosen to put what you believe is right ahead of what the church has said is right. That means you have no authority. None. I respect authority, but you willingly gave yours up when you chose to elevate yourself above the church. If that were all though, I would not care, but it is not. It’s what you do to the Bride. When you elevate yourself above the Bride of Christ, then go so far as to slander her with lies and make her a whore by laying down with whatever doctrine you find appealing, it is too far. Jesus is Lord or He is not. God speaks through the church or He does not. The Spirit guides the church or He does not. It is that simple. You have decided otherwise and, though your so called leadership made the Bride of Christ a whore by applying and encouraging others to follow doctrines and actions that the church has called sin. Again, as Jude might say, you are like a senseless animal insulting powers that you do not understand and living only by your feelings. That is not leadership, it is apostasy. You lead try to lead the Bride to become an apostate church not connected to the Father. You will not do this though. You can not.

There are too many of us. We are mostly unknown. Most of us do not make the same gold or have anywhere near the temporal authority that you do. We risk it all by speaking the truth. We risk our church homes, sometimes our families and friends. Pastors risk appointments, lay members risk being ostracized by their congregations for speaking hard truths. Yet we still remain faithful to the vows we took as members. We remain faithful when our so called leaders by and large model for us faithlessness. We seek to maintain the purity of the Bride while you turn her into a prostitute for the gold you collect. You pimp out faith to public opinion and pressure instead of remaining faithful to the church you vowed to serve. You act like lions seeking to devour and while we may just be lambs, you have forgotten that we can roar as well. This is why it is time to break up. The Lord did indeed call Hosea to marry a prostitute, but He did not call him to pimp her out as one. That is what you are doing to the church, and those of us who love the Bride will no longer have it.

 

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48 Replies to “Breaking up is hard to do (except when it is with a Bishop)”

  1. Thank you for your words. I echo their sentiment and know how difficult they are to write. Thank you for saying what many either cannot or will not. I stand with you.

  2. Scott, thank you for this powerful reflection. I did some study around General Conference time and noticed that bishops in other denominations, including Roman Catholic and Orthodox, have not lost the ability to explain the biblical and theological way the position of the church regarding marriage. Such explorations outside the UMC made me realize that most of our bishops have either lost the ability to do so, or do not believe it. If all they can say is that our Discipline says something, and cannot engage the Bible and Theology, then the bishops cannot – bish!

  3. Do you believe that God has called you
    to the life and work of ordained ministry?
    I do so believe.
    Do you believe in the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
    and confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
    I do so believe and confess.
    Are you persuaded
    that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments
    contain all things necessary for salvation
    through faith in Jesus Christ
    and are the unique and authoritative standard
    for the church’s faith and life?
    I am so persuaded, by God’s grace.
    Will you be faithful in prayer,
    in the study of the Holy Scriptures,
    and with the help of the Holy Spirit
    continually rekindle the gift of God that is in you?
    I will, with the help of God.
    Will you do your best to pattern your life
    in accordance with the teachings of Christ?
    I will, with the help of God.
    Will you, in the exercise of your ministry,
    lead the people of God
    to faith in Jesus Christ,
    to participate in the life and work of the community, and
    to seek peace, justice, and freedom for all people?
    I will, with the help of God.
    Will you be loyal to The United Methodist Church,
    accepting its order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline,
    defending it against all doctrines contrary to God’s Holy Word,
    and committing yourself to be accountable with those serving with you,
    and to the bishop and those who are appointed to supervise your ministry?
    I will, with the help of God.
    The bishop addresses the candidates:
    May God,
    who has given you the will to do these things,
    give you grace to perform them,
    that the work begun in you may be brought to perfection.
    All audibly affirm the action, saying, Amen

      1. Tom reads that and believes it justify’s his participation in a “nice coup” of the UMC. You and I read the clear language, “Will you be loyal to The United Methodist Church, accepting its order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline,
        defending it against all doctrines contrary to God’s Holy Word,
        and committing yourself to be accountable with those serving with you,
        and to the bishop and those who are appointed to supervise your ministry?”

        and wonder what he is smoking!

        1. Gerry – I’m going to play this straight up. You quoted an actual vow. Are you saying that you personally aware of Bishops who have briken that vow? And have you written complaints, following the procedures outlined in the BoD? That is your right and responsibility, you know.

          And, BTW, I am not aware of any case in which a Bishop has refused to submit to the discipline of his peers, or the authorities of the church.

          This discussion also assumes that the vows are rock-hard rules of law. But they simply cannot be. The vow immediately before the one you quoted says
          “Will you, in the exercise of your ministry,
          lead the people of God
          to faith in Jesus Christ,
          to participate in the life and work of the community, and
          to seek peace, justice, and freedom for all people?”

          If, in the exercise of that ministry, a pastor feels compelled to break a rule in the BoD, in order to lead someone to Christ, that should and does weigh in the pursuit of justice. That’s why we have judicial proceedings – so that reasonable people can weigh ALL the facts of a case.

          If you run into a burning building to try to save lives, you cannot be charged with trespassing. If you break a rule in the BoD to try to bring someone to Jesus, that should be taken into consideration when you are charged with breaking the rule.

          1. “If, in the exercise of that ministry, a pastor feels compelled to break a rule in the BoD, in order to lead someone to Christ, that should and does weigh in the pursuit of justice.”

            Problem is, you have a completely different understanding of what it means to lead someone to Christ, the impact it has on the individual life. You believe that sexual relations between people of the same gender is OK and falls within God’s will. I do not, Scott does not, many others within the UMC do not. The end result is we come at the Bible and BoD from two totally different and incompatible perspectives. Scott was open about his views re the church and how it functions as an insititution–a view I am in agreement with. You obviously come at it from some totally different perspective that you are convinced is correct. Within that context, the question ceases to be who is right and who is wrong, the question is once again, “HOW DO WE CONTINUE TO LIVE TOGETHER ?” Reality is, Scott’s view of how the church functions is from a truly Methodist perspective and yours is not! So where do we go from here?

          2. The things that the Bishops have done have nothing to do with Salvation/Justification, so try again Tom. Interesting how not that long ago you were talking about how people should keep their vows and now you defend breaking them. As for bishops not in submission to authority, look up Talbert. There is a good starting point.

          3. Disagreeing with something does not automatically make one’s act/opinion justice-seeking.

  4. Well stated and valid critique of the episcopal system – like most bureaucracies, it has become entrenched and self-serving, venal and generally corrupted by the “eternal” power vested within it.
    A concerted effort – beginning now – to lobby for a complete revision of life-time tenure and participation in the Council of Bishops on retirement needs to be addressed.
    A clear-cut and well defined process of filing actions against Bishops need to be enacted, with more than wrist-slap results.
    In addition, teeth have to be put into the penalties for those persons (clergy and laity) who violate their membership oaths and ordination vows by taking actions which violate such.
    Finally, there needs to be a way addressed for dissenting congregations who wish to separate from the tribe to be able to do so with their property; after all, we have enough “white elephant” properties costing us money now.
    Thanks for a well stated and concise critique.

  5. The point of Tom’s post of our vows to me, though it may not be the point Tom intended, is that the hostile polemic by Scott seems to reject those vows. I’m Methodist born, Methodist bred, and when I die, I’ll be Methodist dead. That is true even though I strongly disagree with the BOD on the issue of same-sex marriage, I have not, and will not leave our Church. I will continue to speak out on this issue and hope to see it change. The elephant in the room is that logic needs to apply: that is, why not relate to those remarried divorcees living in adultery, as Jesus teaches, in the same way we relate to those in same-sex marriage? Or vice versa? What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Surely this teaching of Jesus is at least on the equal level, or above, as the teaching of Paul. So parallel logic must apply equally to each. Without consistent logic there can be no rational dialogue. To shun one we must be consistent and shun the other. Now, we do not any longer shun remarried divorcees from ordained ministry, it is simple logic to relate to both in the same way. Of course, it is “Our Family Tradition” as a Methodist Family, to shun one but not the other. Hank Williams, Jr. (“Bosephus”) sings about his Daddy’s “Family Tradition” in his song: “Why do I drink? Why do I blow smoke? It’s our Family Tradition.” Isn’t that the same basis for our illogical shunning one but not the other? We should take Scripture seriously: remarried divorcees ARE living in adultery. However, our Methodist Church decided over half a century that our church tent is big enough to include those we disagree with, even on moral issues. If, as an ordained pastor, I am to give full ministry to homosexuals… gays, etc. … Then surely this must include baptism, Holy Communion, funerals AND marriage. Logic is sometimes hard to swallow; we prefer to just stay with “Our Family Tradition,” no matter how inconsistent our logic may be. Till yet, no one has offered a consistent logical reason for not relating to both marrieds in the same way. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Acceptance does not mean approval. The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a home for saints, otherwise, we all… Scott, Tom, Larry, et al. , find ourselves homeless… that is without a Church Home. We must use logic in rational discourse or we accept irrationality. We must not avoid logic by the use of diversion like all three major Presidential candidates are doing. They divert when confronted with hard questions. Logic escapes them. To divert from logic is to be devoid of intellectual and moral integrity. Amen.

    1. I’d be happy to have a real conversation about divorce. I am of the opinion that the United Methodist church does not handle it correctly either. Write something up and contact me and I will publish it through this blog with credit to you and without edit from me, save for a picture perhaps as it increases the visibility of what you are writing.
      It is interesting that you speak of logic, then start talking about a whole lot of things that have nothing to do with the polemic (thank you for using the proper word, though hostile polemic is really not necessary as all polemics are hostile to that which they are about by their nature) was actually about. What this is actually about is Bishops who have broken their vows. That has nothing to do with divorce, etc. it has to do with Bishops breaking their vows and what comes with it. I certain welcome comments, even those I disagree with, but also appreciate when they are actually on topic. The topic here is some bishops, the vows they have broken, and what they have done to the church in doing so.

        1. Tom the Bishops that have broken covenant are well known. It is not a secret. What vows> The ones they made to God through the church first as an ordained Elder then as a Bishop. They are easy to find and identify. In fact, you put up some of the vows to God through the church that they have broken.

      1. “The topic here is some bishops, the vows they have broken”…
        Since the subject is bishops.
        And,
        Since I didn’t get an answer regarding Talbert, I assume he is one you would not include. I have heard a lot of discussion about him. But, justifiably, being retired, I cannot see what actions specifically, the UMC could take against him, that would be legal under civil law. As a UMC member, you couldn’t even take away communion, since you have an open communion. Can’t touch retirement pay, legally. Could take his right to marry people, I suppose. But he could reinstate that with a $25 internet certificate. So, my assumption, is that Talbert is not one of the bishops that could possibly be sanctioned, legally. If so, I really would be interested in how the BoD handles retired bishops. Once retired, you hit civil law as an employee, not church law.

          1. But why? Are you saying that the BoD can be used to sanction a retired bishop? If so, exactly how, which does not violate civil law?
            Just trying to narrow down the facts.

          2. Bishops (and all retired clergy) are still accountable to the BoD unless they surrender their credentials. They are authorized on behalf of the church to conduct weddings, president over charge and annual conferences, and a range of other functions.
            Comparing to military, it would be as if a retired major could fly to Iraq and conduct a raid of his own choosing on behalf of the USA but not be accountable to the Army.
            (Wait. Maybe that happens. That would explain a lot)

          3. Your Iraq analogy indicates that perhaps all retired bishops, ought to be totally retired. A UMC member, but no official status. When I retired, I expect to be retired, retired. Not work, retired.

      2. The church gets off topic during many of their discussions, which is the major problem at Conference. The biggest problem is that the UMC leadership is not living as the BOD or the Bible instructs. Period!!!!!!

        If we settle how to discipline the leadership that have chosen to allow their individual opinions to outweigh the UMC’s Discipline, which they vowed to uphold, the matter is solved. Clean out the church leadership, and there will be no conflict regarding how we should be leading society in marriage. Homosexuals are always welcome to worship within our congregations, the same as the rest of us sinners.

        In comparing the issue to divorce (ridiculous! ), the Florida Conference had my pastor go through counseling and a hearing, when her husband filed divorce ON HER!! Possibly we should give psychological counseling to these sinners who are protesting the UMC!

        The UMC experiences press coverage on this issue, because society has stepped in with “law”, and the leadership has jumped on the bandwagon. The UMC should follow the Bible, and lead sinners to the Lord. Immediately clean house within the UMC leadership of those who break vows and won’t follow Him!

        I have experienced how the cover-up of our Leader’s sins have caused other conflicts, poor decisions, and injustice within our church, due to the actions resulting from the efforts to cover-up the secrets of those who disobey. If these people feel that they must hide their lifestyles so that they can keep their jobs, then they have chosen the wrong career!!!

  6. The point of posting the ordination vows was so people could easily reference between them and Scott’s original document. That’s all. Just a convenience so when readers want to evaluate a statement like
    “Those of you who will not follow the vows you took and the statements that the bishops made are not leaders, you are unrepentant liars who serve a spirit, but not the Holy Spirit.”
    they will be able to evaluate it against the actual vows.

  7. Pursuing that thought, though, it’s interesting that Scott’s piece included stinging indictments of unnamed Bishops and elders (although I know who some of them are), but I believe he failed to mention which, of any, of the actual vows have been broken. That would be a useful starting point for clarity. Words like ‘liar’, ‘apostasy’, and ‘pimp’ are very strong words – perhaps they should be contained in a complaint letter rather than posted in a blog.

    1. Where have you been to think that complaint letters about bishops mean anything? If they did we would not have arrived here. You want the name of a bishop who fits this description let’s start with Talbert and those of the CoB who promote him. He has been called brave for his continuing breaches of the discipline , but where is the bravery when there is no chance in the UMC that he will ever face even the mildest consequence.
      Why file a complaint with those who have declared a moratorium but only for their friends. The person filing the complaint is more likely to be disciplined. Calling out a corrupted system and identifying those who are responsible is what we call speaking truth to power.

      1. “let’s start with Talbert”…

        Just from a technical standpoint, I believe it is “retired Bishop Talbert”.

        I don’t know the rules of UMC, but it would be nice to state if there is any difference. In the military, there is a BIG difference between an active duty officer, and a retired officer, in terms of what they can, and cannot do. AND, what the government can do, or not do, in discipline toward them (like nothing)! Unless they disclose classified info, but that requires their signature on a paper when they leave Active service. Other than that, they can do whatever they want, whenever they want.

      2. I have personally spoken with Bishop Talbert, after the first just resolution proceeding, but before his (reported) more recent participation in a same-sex marriage. I can tell you that he was unbowed by the first proceeding; he was still advocating strongly for full inclusion, and it seemed like he was going to be a participant, not just a cheerleader, going forward.
        It was also very clear that his experience in the civil rights movement was a big part of his willingness to push back against the ‘system’. I guess when you’ve been thrown in jail because you wanted to order a hamburger, getting a reprimand from your fellow Bishops is not particularly threatening.

        But what Bishop Talbert has NOT done is refuse to submit to discipline. It’s not his fault that there is a limited number of things you can do to a retired Bishop. He has gone through the just resolution process for his first act of disobedience, and as I understand it, he is participating in the most recent action. (I’m not real up-to-date on that.) So, as has been suggested, he can be defrocked, but it’s unlikely that the Bishops are going to do that. Beyond that, there’s really very little that can be done.

        1. Exactly. That’s what I figured. If retired, there is nothing “significant” that can be done, without violating civil law.

          1. To be honest, if he is truly retired, he needs no credentials. That’s my definition of retired.

        2. Talbert said he was going to follow the BoD in the first “Just Resolution” after the marriage he performed. Then he performed another. That is refusal to submit to discipline. On top of that it makes him a liar. You need better heroes Tom.

    2. I feel compelled to remind us that the church over the centuries, as institution, has set and continues to set institutional priorities that are incompatible with the Good News of Jesus Christ. If that were not the case, there would have been no Martin Luther, no Reformation, and no Protestant denominations. The church as institution has been caught out before in transgressions against the Gospel, and has always defended itself with perversions of and proof-texts from, the Bible. LBGTQ equality and human sexuality just happen to be the current focus of reformist theology that seeks to call out the church in its transgressions against the Gospel.

  8. “Why file a complaint with those who have declared a moratorium but only for their friends.”

    Because it’s the prescribed procedure in the Book of Discipline. Do you not believe that we should be following the BoD?

    1. Actually, I propose re-establishing the BoD. The point is currently there is no Discipline. It is one thing here and another there. One thing today and another tomorrow. It is whatever is compatible with will of the one having power to enforce it. It is one thing for those who are of friendly opinions and another for those who are outside of the club. It is arbitrary and therefore inherently unjust. It is what you are arguing we maintain.
      Yes, I advocate complying with the discipline, but there is currently no real process to do so…especially with bishops. More accurately I advocate re-establishing the authority of the BoD so we can uphold it.
      That will not happen in the church as currently constituted where there are so many in power who are adamantly opposed to being corrected by a larger church body.

      1. Have you had complaint letters that you wrote be denied by the receiving authority? What bishops or elders have refused to submit to the discipline of the UMC?
        If you’re not willing to address the problem now, you’re just going to take it with you to whatever new denomination emerges.

        Let’s get specific here Keith. Tell me what complaints YOU have filed. And what the outcome of those complaints has been.

  9. You said, “perhaps they should be contained in a complaint letter rather than posted in a blog,” and I stated a cause which you did not refute. You asked for a name, and I gave you one which you did refute. I cited the arbitrary and unjust system in which we are operating and you did not refute that. You asked if I viewed in upholding the BoD, and I gave an answer which you did not challenge. As to this final, sophomoric, Bart Simpson-like response…I am content to let that stand for all to see and end the discussion there.

    1. So in other words Keith, the answer is no, you have not filed any complaints. And certainly none that have been rejected.
      When a Bishop refuses to submit to the discipline of his peers, as is called for in his vows, then you definitely have a case for removing that Bishop from the rolls of the church. Until then, every proceeding is going to be judicial, and you won’t always like the outcome.

  10. Scott,
    Your article breaks my heart. Your “holier than thou attitude,” is harmful to me and I can imagine to so many others. It makes me sad to read your comments everywhere in the UMC. I sense your intent is pure and your desire to follow Jesus is to be commended, but as my brother in Christ, I grieve for you. I am trying to forgive you for the harm you are doing to the queer community. You have a great gift of Scripture and reason, but where is your Gospel heart? I know it’s in there. I encourage to be in relationship with the queer community and keep your mouth shut. Love them. Let your Gospel love be your witness. If you really believe in the message of Jesus, let your light shine in love.

    1. Jay,

      You accuse Scott of harming others with his holier than thou attitude; yet, you insist he keep his mouth shut, deny his good intentions, and mock his view of the Gospel all the while insisting his keep his mouth shut?

      That seems a bit laughable.

      1. I’m not sure what is laughable, but I think I can understand why you may think this. We come from different theological, Biblical Christological perspectives. I’ve been accused of not holding Scripture as authority because I don’t interpret Scripture the way some of my brother and sisters interpret Scripture. I do hold Scripture as authoritative, just not in the way you do.
        Some of my collegues and friends have left the church because of the harm they feel from persons like Scott. I know it’s not Scott’s intent to do harm, but he is. I wrote a response to his writing because I can’t be silent on harm being done to the Queer community.
        Though we may not think alike, may we love alike.

        1. ” I know it’s not Scott’s intent to do harm, but he is.”
          If saying that a chosen action is a sin does harm then let’s just close the doors of the church now. We are harming murderers after all and gluttons, and adulterers, etc. etc. etc. that would mean that we are harming everyone including ourselves since we are all prideful at some point or another and that is of course a sin. The idea applied to all sin is ridiculous. The church, especially a church in the Wesleyan tradition, has to be able to address sin.

    2. Jay I encourage you to keep your mouth shut too 😛 You make many assumptions, chiefly that I am not involved with a particular community, then assuming that if I were there would somehow be a miraculous change of heart…but none of that has a thing to do with the OP and the Bishops. So feel free to keep your mouth shut too. You harm the church and the message of the gospel when you slander the bride by endorsing actions that defame her. See, I can play too.
      If this is some sort of odd my gospel heart is bigger than yours competition, I have no interest. If you would actually like to know what I have tried to do in advancing the gospel or with any particular community, feel free to ask instead of accuse where you have no knowledge.

      1. Thank you Scott for your response. I am not into playing games either or competitions. However, I hear the tone of your response to indicate my intentions where otherwise. I apologize for this misunderstanding. It sounds like we are not hearing what each other are saying, but I will try. Its always more difficult to understand context from one post. Its easy to make a lot of assumptions without understanding the whole. I apologize for making assumptions about you too. Thanks for the invitation to ask what you do in the queer community. I would be interested in knowing what you do. I am looking for ways to be more intentional in my relationship with this community. Especially after Orlando, many of my gay friends, feel stunned and I have attempted to offer love and support in their time of grief. Thanks for the invitation. I look forward to hearing from you.

        1. If everyone kept their mouths shut, there would be no comments. Then, there would be little motivation to read this blog. Then, we all might as well go to a library, and read a book to get our one-way conversation fix.

        2. I have in the past worked with homeless LGBTQ youth in Chicago and Detroit mostly. In doing so, I have helped with applications, have taught simple survival skills (how to use stenos discarded after a catered event to safely sanitize water and cook, etc.) as well as the job skills that I possessed at the time, mostly short order cooking. I also spent many nights in churches with them when shelters were not available so that they would not have to work on the street. I also assisted where I could in finding employment and being a reference. I no longer live in those areas and health prevents me from doing more of the same these days.
          I have, at various cities, started free dinners at churches showing them how to menu plan cheaply and effectively. This again was then used as a service to anyone who would come of course, but targeted homeless youth in general, many of which are from the LGBTQ community. Some of those programs continue, others have shuttered. In those areas, I helped act a bridge so that the churches could reach out and help direct those individuals to what services were available. I advocated for them as for the most part they were nervous about going into any church.
          I maintain several friendships with members of this particular community and of course help as well as I am able as I would any friend.
          In the late 90’s and early 2000’s when there was a significant amount of violence toward people who were attending LGBTQ social clubs that had sprung up, I offered my professional experience working in private security to aid in setting up effective deterrents and systems that should something happen, aid in prosecution. I donated that time, though I was not in a position to donate equipment. I did help install what I was able to however. I also worked as a body guard for a young man who had an abusive partner free of charge until he could make arrangements to leave the area he was in. I have the bullet wound through my right calf to remember him by as his partner flipped and became excessively violent. I do not enjoy speaking of things like this as I find it rather arrogant to be honest in that it seemingly puffs me up to being something that I am not. I especially don’t like doing on a blog post that has nothing at all to do with me or what I have or have not done, but I also am not a door mat to be accused without knowledge or evidence.
          Currently I do not do a whole lot outside of my neighborhood as health does not allow for it. The OP is about bishops being disobedient, not how we should treat people. For that matter, the theology behind the church’s position is not about how we should treat people. The Bible is pretty clear about how we treat sinners, we love them. The Bible is also pretty clear about how we treat the saints, we love them too. That has nothing to do with what their sin is or is not. Many people, including some Bishops. have whipped folks in to a frenzy based on lies about what the church teaches and assumptions about the behavior of those who support the teaching of the church on the matter. It is just one of the many forms of disobedience that they have engaged in and a complete failure of their duty to teach.

          1. Bless you Scott. Thank you for you sharing more of your story. Thank you for being authentic and caring. I am honored and grateful for your sharing. Though we may not think alike, may we love alike. Thank you for showing love.

  11. I agree 100% …I am no longer part of a church who sees homosexually as an ok thing…..This is not what the bible says…I have broken off from this church…I will be a child of God.

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