The Special General Conference has come and gone and the global United Methodist church voted for the "Traditional Plan" over other plans, namely the "One Church Plan" favored by our bishops and the US delegation. We are a global denomination with 11 million aging and declining US members and 7 million vibrantly growing non-US church members, mostly in Africa. The reality on the ground is that homosexual behavior is outlawed in many African nations and historically shunned in former Soviet bloc countries (e.g., Lithuania) - it would be suicidal for an African delegate to vote anything other than for the "Traditional Plan."
Oddly, while the Book of Discipline says "The practice of homosexual behavior is inconsistent with Christian belief," my ordination vows include a "willingness to relate yourself to ministry with all persons without regard to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, social status, gender, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, age, economic condition or disability." (emphasis, mine). The practice of my ministry has engaged me in many coming-out situations, transgender persons, and other issues of human sexuality have led me to the conclusion that ALL people are of divine worth and that the concerns raised in the Bible are from a social context that is different from today. That is, in biblical times, a lot of homosexual behavior was exploitative and not consensual and rape is always bad, and we reject this exploitative behavior today.
The opinions I share are mine alone and I take full responsibility for them. I will not marry same gendered people until the denomination allows me to - I have taken an ordination vow to uphold the Book of Discipline. But today I grieve the harm imposed by the votes in St. Louis to our LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters and to our youth and young adults who by a large majority support them. I am open to dialog with both supporters and objectors of my beliefs.
Please be in prayer for The United Methodist Church, its bishops and leaders, clergy, church members, seminaries, general boards, and for its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ and transform the world. Be a people of resurrection and redemption.
With the Love of Christ,