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Methodist pastor in Kansas placed on leave after coming out as a lesbian

The Rev. Cynthia Meyer, a Kansas pastor who came out to her small congregation in January 2016, joins protesters outside of the United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore., on May 18, 2016. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

(RNS) The Rev. Cynthia Meyer has been placed on an involuntary leave of absence after coming out as a lesbian earlier this year to her rural Kansas congregation.

The leave allows Meyer, a United Methodist minister, to avoid a church trial and comes after she met for more than 12 hours on Monday (Aug. 1) with those involved in a complaint against her, according to the denomination’s Great Plains Annual Conference.


RELATED: Gay Methodist pastor a step closer to church trial


“I am heartbroken, as I agree to give up the right to serve in ministry as an Elder in The United Methodist Church for an undetermined time,” Meyer said in a written statement released through the Reconciling Ministries Network.

“Even as I agree to this resolution, I assert that it is not just and furthers the harm inflicted, not just on me, but on all LGBTQ persons in the church. Again we are told, ‘you aren’t equal; you aren’t good enough; you aren’t of enough sacred worth to serve as an ordained leader in your church.'”

Meyer’s leave from her position as pastor of Edgerton United Methodist Church near Kansas City, begins Sept. 1 and will last through the next worldwide General Conference in 2020 — or sooner if the denomination convenes a special session of the General Conference to resolve its position on the full inclusion of its LGBT members.

At that time, she can accept an appointment to a church, submit to a church trial or take advantage of any other provisions the General Conference may make.

The Rev. Cynthia Meyer speaks about the possibility of losing her livelihood after coming out to her Kansas congregation earlier this year if language regarding LGBTQ clergy in the United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline is not changed at the 2106 General Conference in Portland on May 16, 2016. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

The Rev. Cynthia Meyer speaks about the possibility of losing her livelihood after coming out to her Kansas congregation earlier this year if language regarding LGBTQ clergy in the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline is not changed at the 2106 General Conference in Portland on May 16, 2016. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

While on leave, Meyer cannot perform the duties of an elder in the United Methodist Church, but she will keep her credentials and can work for a church or church agency in any role a lay staff person can hold. She also will receive about a year’s pay at the start of that leave.

She had hoped for a different outcome this week, but, she said, “this seemed to be the best we could do.”

Meyer would be happy to work for a church or nonprofit or to engage in advocacy, and she hopes she’ll have the opportunity to do some guest preaching, she told RNS on Thursday (Aug. 4). She previously was assistant dean of students at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, a United Methodist-affiliated school in Atlanta.

Meantime, she said, she’ll continue “nurturing folks and living in discipleship and growing in faith — just keep going.” Several new people will become members of the church this month before her leave begins.

“People want to be a part of a place that is open to all and bringing together folks in love and trying to live in the way of Jesus rather than being overly concerned with a human book of law,” she said.

The United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., bans the ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” and its Book of Discipline calls the practice of homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

The 2016 General Conference in Portland had been set to vote on several resolutions related to sexuality. After a contentious start to the quadrennial meeting, it decided instead to defer those discussions to a commission that could lead to a special session before the next conference is scheduled to meet in 2020.

Meantime, United Methodists’ 56 local annual conferences across the U.S. have passed a mix of resolutions regarding sexuality as they’ve interpreted that decision. And the regional Western Jurisdictional Conference last month elected the denomination’s first openly LGBT bishop.

Had her church been in one of those conferences that had passed resolutions saying they would not pursue church trials against LGBT clergy, “none of this would have happened,” Meyer said. “I would simply be serving in those locations.”

In her first sermon of 2016 this January, on Epiphany Sunday, Meyer told her congregation she felt “called by God to be open and honest” about who she is: “a woman who loves and shares her life with another woman.” She was ordained 25 years ago and was appointed pastor of the church in July 2015.

Soon afterward, Bishop Scott Jones of the Great Plains Conference asked for her suspension, and the Rev. David Watson, district superintendent, filed a formal complaint against her.

In a statement on the Reconciling Ministries Network website, its executive director, Matt Berryman, called the resolution reached Monday one of “both heartbreak and hope.”

Meyer also said in a statement that accompanied the resolution that she will move forward “in hope,” adding that the United Methodist Church was in “a liminal moment, filled with possibility.”

Hope has buoyed her through the decision, she said.

“I hope that the UMC, through a fully representative, inclusive commission, then a focused General Conference, will intentionally, prayerfully remove all discriminatory language and practice from its Book of Discipline,” she wrote in her statement. “Then the Church may welcome the gifts of all who are called and gifted for ministry and all members may receive all the graces and services of the church, including marriage in their sanctuaries, performed by their UM clergy.”

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

148 Comments

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  • How do denominations pick and choose their boundaries? There is no such thing as a female pastor. The lesbian thing is just topping on the cake.

  • “Then the Church may welcome the gifts of all who are called and gifted for ministry and all members may receive all the graces and services of the church, including marriage in their sanctuaries, performed by their UM clergy,” she said.”
    Romans 1:28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
    A reprobate mind is not a gift to the church. Doing what ought not to be done, is not a gift to the church. Her repenting of her sin and accepting Jesus as her Lord and Saviour would be a gift to her. She could be helping herself, but, as far as there being righteous in her, there is none.
    Jesus said that He would forgive and heal us of our sins, if she chooses life and not death. I pray the Lord can get through to that woman and the rest of the church supporting this travesty.

  • There are obviously such things as female pastors. Perhaps not in your brand of religion, but whatever. You don’t get to decide for others.

  • On the question of female participation in the offices of the Church, Paul taught, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also sayeth the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” ( 1 Cor. 14:34-35). Further, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” (1st Timothy. 2:12). Harsh as the language sounds, it is quite often interpreted as meaning that while women have wide and important responsibilities within the church, Pastoral leadership is not among them. Bear in mind, I’m merely quoting the language of the scriptural text. It is on that basis, regarding the disciplines and instructions with respect to the operation of church offices, that the UMC has the right and obligation to fulfill those instructions, though that is not the context of this specific discipline which concerns her lesbianism. I’m not talking about public policy by government outside the church. I can appreciate the personal grief of the clergy member involved, but within the context of the biblical language the decision by her supervisors framed by reference to other scriptures regarding homosexuality within the church there is no ambiguity. What happens in the civil realm is another question entirely. For those who argue from the 1st Amendment regarding separation of Church and State, then the State must defer to the Church in this matter.

  • No Ben, she does NOT acknowledge God, and she has forced her bishop to set things right (as much as possible anyway).

    If Meyer does acknowledge God, let her acknowledge the truth of the Bible passage that Sandi quoted.

    (Me, I’ll just offer 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Meyer can acknowledge that one too.)

    Or even let Meyer acknowledge her own Book of Discipline, which she **agreed to follow** way back when.

  • “Echein en epignosei” doesn’t mean a mere nod to the existence of something or someone but having actual, personal knowledge of it/him. Paul uses this phrase often to exhort the church to grow in the knowledge of the Lord. The Petrine epistles also uses it: “For if, having escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, now again having been entangled in these they are subdued, the last state has become worse to them than the first.”

  • Of course I do. And anyone who cares about their soul should listen to those who correct them, lest their souls be lost to eternity.

  • While the Bible contains not even one snippet of factual knowledge that rises above the ignorance of that ancient era, it’s fascinating how the Bible authors went on endlessly with their obsessive efforts to have dominion over the way people think, what people believe, and how people behave. The key to this, of course, was the claim that these assertions were revealed to the authors by a viciously judgemental God (who was, conveniently, created by man). And while it’s understandable how masses of people were once gullible enough to be submissive to such domination, it’s astonishing that, in the 21st Century, so many people are still frightened and cowed into submission by being trained to be unwilling and/or unable to think independently . . . because, after all, they’ve been taught that reason, evidence, and logic are evil devices of-the-devil.

  • Or even “let Meyer acknowledge her own Book of Discipline, which she **agreed to follow** way back when”

    The only part of your rant which isn’t frothing at the mouth rabid nonsense. I see no sane reason for believers to stay in sects which want to treat them like garbage. There are enough out there who do not ascribe to such bigotry that it is far easier to walk away from such groups.

    That is not to say bigoted sects are immune to criticism for their views. But they do have the right and duty to set their own arbitrary rules concerning their clergy.

  • Pretty much arbitrarily. Religion does not require rational arguments or planning. As for female pastors, that is just your sectarian prejudice speaking there. Of no concern to anyone else.

  • It’s a bummer to be bound to laws and morals formed thousands of years ago. The trend now seems to be to cherry pick what fits in these times. Confusing and divisive.

  • Obviously that group of Methodists do not chose to accept your take on such matters.

    Of course there is ambiguity and room for interpretation in scripture besides your own here. But you would never find those of a reactionary/fundamentalist belief acknowledging that. They take it as an article of faith that their view represents all of Christiandom.

  • Not so. The trend of cherry picking goes back to the inception of the religion. It is only sectarian arrogance which compels people to make the phony claim they follow it in its entirety and in context. It ironic confusing and divisive to those unwilling to respect beliefs besides their own.

  • There were many women of note in both the OT and NT. Deborah was a judge in the OT. In the NT (Lydia, for example) they were not apostles nor held official positions in the church. Paul hijacked Christianity and was responsible for these injunctions against women. If you believe/follow the NY how can you go against the teachings?

  • As Romans explain, they exchange the truth for a lie and worship idols. They call their idol God, Ben.

  • This is a loss for the UMC. They have a slogan often bannered across their buildings:

    “Open hearts, open minds, open doors.”

    Clearly that’s not true.

  • Of course not. But Jesus did give believers the great commission to warn people of the dangers to their souls, and to repent and believe.

  • At least you are honest enough to attribute an excuse to your prejudice.

    After all, what is the point of religious belief if you can’t justify boorish behavior with it?

  • So Christians like yourself act like busybodies and know-it-alls and blame Jesus for their uncivil behavior.

  • Call it what you will. But if you are standing at the moment of judgment in front of Holy God, all proud that you withstood busybodies and know-it-alls, and suddenly realizing that you are naked and ashamed, don’t blame me for not warning you.

  • At the judgment seat of Christ, when you are proud that you withstood anyone else’s claims by calling them prejudice and boorish, don’t blame me for not warning you.

  • Threats like that are infantile. Much like pretending bad behavior is OK because you claim God says so.

  • Let me clue you in on a little secret few Fundamentalists want to acknowledge.

    Actions which are considered obnoxious, hateful and uncivil don’t become acceptable just because you invoke religion to excuse it. Or more crassly, acting like a d-bag is always acting like a d-bag. Calling it religious belief only means you are acting like a religious d-bag.

  • This is my greatest irritation with the behavior of some religious people. It’s not enough for them to simply mind their own business and follow their faith as they see fit. No, they want to tell everyone else how to lead their lives as well. And lest anyone point out how obnoxious and intrusive this is, oh they’re only doing out of “concern” because they’re convinced that’s what their particular deity demands. They’ve got all the right answers, and everyone else is doing it wrong. Other people’s faith and how they choose to follow it are not your concern. If you’re against female pastors, go to a church that doesn’t have one. Problem solved.

  • It’s weird how christians keep citing letters written (or purportedly written) by Paul, the kooky founder of the religion of the man-god. This is the same Paul who said that the dead Jewish fellow was going to be right back and then the dead would meet him and then Paul and Pals would blast off to the clouds to meet him. OOPS.

  • And the same goes the other way around. Just because the government makes something legal doesn’t mean you are going to get a pass on the day of judgment. Just sayin’.

  • No. Because business that are open to the general public must serve the general public. Religious organizations like churches are under no such obligation.

  • Mary Magdalene was indeed an apostle. She was sent by the risen Lord to tell the male disciples that he had risen from the dead. Recently the pope established a feast day on the Roman calendar to celebrate her status as the “Apostle to the Apostles. The 12 did not believer her at first, (like many men today), but the risen Lord authorized and commanded her to deliver His message, and she obeyed Him.

  • Here’s a woman who has been a great Methodist pastor for so many years, and this is abruptly ended because she committed the frail human act of love… love for one particular other human being who she feels is a lifelong companion for her on this earth.

    An act that she, like so many others, has committed – but like so many others, it is a love that follows her love for God.

    It seems so wrong to demand Rev Cynthia stops being the person she was called to be 🙁

  • She should shake the dust off her feet and transfer to the United Church of Christ where she would be warmly welcomed.

  • I agree that is a definite possibility, but I also feel that this would be giving in to the pressure in a small part of the UMC in the United States.

    I’m in the UMC and I value the straight pastors who have ministered to me and our church, but I would also value someone with the life experience and knowledge of Rev Cynthia. I don’t want her to leave our UMC in the US. We need to encourage her full reinstatement!

  • And that is the whole point of Romans, isn’t it? Idolatry, not homosexuality. Not then and not now.

  • So everything that Jesus had to say about judging others, motes and beams, and so forth, is to be ignored when you are busy judging others for their sins.

    And yes, i know that you can point out the passages where it says it’s just ducky to do that. That’s the wonderful thing about the bible. No matter how apposite or opposite the situation, you have a quotation to justify yourself.

  • If you are going to go around making sense, we’re going to have to punish you for eternity.

  • If you can describe the difference between my gay wedding cake and your heterosexual one, I’d like to hear it.

  • So you can justify anything you like that way, including discrimination on the basis of religious belief?

    Can I have your support if I choose to discriminate against you on the basis of religious belief!

  • Well, if you want to sodomize a wedding cake, please don’t let me stop you. However, it will be messy.

  • Well, unfortunately, I won’t be choosing to do that. But then, I’m not a Christian, and so do not wish to behave maliciously towards others. But it’s good to know.

  • Meyer could also sign up with the Presbyterians. Like the UCC, they’re officially worshipping the Gay Goliath.

    But there’s a big catch. The Methodists didn’t just put Meyer on leave, they gave her an automatic $37,000 to tide her over for the next 12 months, even though she’s directly in opposition to her own employer. (How many secular employers would give such a sweet deal to YOU?)

    So honestly, don’t look for Meyer to switch to other denominations, at least not for a good while.

  • The Gay Goliath? What is that?

    And, “directly in opposition”? She is homosexual and happens to have found another person the same as she. I appreciate that specific part of her existence is not accepted by the current rules in the BOD, but it seems to me that the Rev Cynthia’s existence goes against only the human sexualitlity problem we in the UMC are wrestling with.

    The problem with the human sexuality issue stems from 6 or 7 verses in the bible which some interpret differently from others. Variation of interpretation in methodism is not new, but this is not about Canaanite cultic love rituals! This is an adult woman in a faithful loving relationship with another faithful loving adult woman. They’ve vowed to stay together.

    Regardless, the 6 or 7 represent 0.02% of scripture, so to suggest she is in direct opposition to her employer needs to be seen in this context.

    Furthermore, the context of her employer… The UMC exists because of the body of Chtist, or perhaps it “is” the body of Christ. We, the body, are not of one view on human sexuality. Many of us straight members see ourselves as allies to move our unjust approach to people like Rev Cynthia in the past. Or we happen not to be straight ourselves. We have jobs and we pay our way into the church to fund the work of the great work of the UMC. I’m not saying this is a democracy, but I am saying this is the context we exist within.

    All this, all of it, comes beneath the overriding and simple instruction to love God and love each other. Love doesn’t mean we always agree, but it goes mean we seek to understand and we do care for each other.

    So… Is paying her $37,500 a sweet deal? I doubt it feels sweet to the Rev Cynthia. It doesn’t seem sweet to me. Sweet would be reconciling our views, accepting each other and dealing with the things we really need to; like poverty, hatred, terror, etc. Transformation of the world. Peace and love to you.

  • Don’t worry too much about Floyd, or Doc Anthony as he used to call himself.

    He is convinced that the entire gay community is hiding underneath his bed at night.

  • But in this instance, this is specifically a matter to be resolved within the precincts of the UMC. I freely acknowledge that among Methodists there is a basic disagreement on the subject under discussion, but there is no ambiguity in the Scripture, the language is quite straightforward, not that there aren’t cases where it is less so, but such is not the case here. Of course, even within churches there is the freedom to accept or reject a specific teaching or command by an act of volition, I trust Jesus to sort it out in His time and in fulfillment of His purpose, meanwhile I will continue to argue rationally for what is clearly evident in scripture.

  • Nothing to do with bigotry, everything to do with a standard for sexual behavior ordained by God. It is interesting how you gloss over floydlee’s very cogent argument about the pastor’s obligation to fulfill her pledge to abide by the Book of Discipline of her chosen sect. But rather than find a different faith group that already embraces her stance on sexuality, she would rather remain in defiance of the rules of her chosen denomination.

  • Arbitrary standards and interpretations to claim gays need to be treated inhumanely. Calling bare prejudice god’s will in order to skirt criticism for a fairly obvious bigotry. As for the pastors duty to the church, I acknowledged that in my comment to him. The only part of his argument which wasn’t bile spewing prejudice.

  • There is always ambiguity in scripture and interpretation. Claims to the contrary have more to do with sectarian articles of faith and ego than reality.

  • You have to study scripture first before you can say there is “always ambiguity” in it. Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn’t.

    I can say there is always ambiguity in Principles of Heat and Mass Transfer, 7th Edition, but if I’ve never read or studied it that assertion doesn’t mean much.

  • Idolatry isn’t primarily a matter of little statues. It’s about putting anything else before obedience to God, mainly self. Once you do that, all the rest follows naturally. Idolatry really is the essence of sin.

  • Please allow Paul to do the speaking for you on this one, Ben. He’s mistaken, especially in light of the Bible’s clarity, but at least he has studied the issue especially vis-a-vis the UMC situation. . So make things easy on yourself, let him do your talking.

  • No, the point of Romans is to convince Jewish Christians of the legitimacy of Gentile Christians saved by grace, not the law.

  • The $37K may indeed feel like cold comfort to Rev. Meyer, but it’s 37K more than what my denomination would offer, given those circumstances.

    And given that she’s openly opposing both her Bible and her BoD, I again say that I’ve seen secular employers fire leaders (without any payoff!) for oppositional moves that weren’t nearly as public, direct and intractable as Meyer’s.

    At some point a church has to say No to the Gay Goliath, despite its cultural and media dominance.

  • Actually, Romans 1 is about people who are not saved. He specifically cites homosexuals, as an example, but it basically is about anyone who rejects Him.

  • All of which can be chalked up to the context and bias of its writers time and contrary to other words by jesus himself. When women were considered property of their husbands. In sharp contrast to Matthew 19:4-6 describing how husbands need to treat wives as more than that but instead are spiritually bonded compliments to each other.

    If Christians can find end runs for “love thy neighbor”, anything is fair game.

  • And where did Jesus say we must condone same-sex behavior? For that matter, where did He say to condone ANY sexual behavior prohibited in His day?

  • Good old hermeneutics, eh, Shawnie? Getting the bible to say exactly what you need it to, even when it doesn’t. It’s almost as if you are putting something else in front of the word o’ God, isn’t it?

    “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

    It never ceases to amaze me how the clear word o’ God can be twisted to say something else when required. The three posts above mine all say something different, though I will admit that they are at least on the some continent, in a vague, general sort of a way.

  • I don’t NEED the Bible to say any of this, Ben. What is so hard to grasp about that? I would be perfectly fine and dandy with a reasonable and scripturally sound rationale for condoning same-sex behavior, but there simply isn’t any. I think we all know who “needs” it to say what here, and why.

    “It never ceases to amaze me how the clear word o’ God can be twisted to say something else when required.”

    Oh? Like here? “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Col.3:5.

    Or here: “No one can serve two masters [i.e. gods], for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon.” Matt 6:24

    Or here: “With lofty but empty words, they [false prophets] appeal to the sensual passions of the flesh and entice the ones who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves to corruption. For a man is a slave to whatever [god] has overcome him.” 2 Peter 2:19

    You simply can not fathom what idolatry is all about without familiarity with the entire word of God. It is very much a multi-faceted theme.

  • True. It is a sort of exploration of the depths to which rejection of God as Lord can take us.

  • All of it.

    “When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to “the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

    Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

    Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
    [Matthew 19:1-5]

  • Have you read the holy books of all the other religions of the world? If not, how can you possibly conclude that Christianity is the one true religion while all the others are false? Let’s be clear ~ the means do not exist for anyone to legitimately conclude that any one religion is true while all the others are false. But, it’s fairly easy to legitimately conclude that all of them are false.

  • You want to learn about the “life experiences” of sin? I’m sure Jesus has much more important things for you to learn about – maybe Him?

  • There is no love in sin, Paul. It isn’t love to keep someone out of the Kingdom of Heaven , as Jesus has said homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. That is not love. That is working for satan.

  • I would say then that hermeneutics is an idol, bibliolatry is the disease. God can’t be clear anywhere,can he? Romans is cited as a condemnation of homosexuality, and it clearly is not any such thing. But you allow– YOU allow– any interpretation as long as it supports yours.

    But you’re a sola scriptorum girl, and so the spirit moving otherwise except through your interpretation of your holy book will never reach you.

    You’re not going to find a scripturally sound justification for any of the thousands of sects of Christianity, or all the spiritual and religious people who don’t believe as you do, or even something as simple as religious freedom– real religious freedom, not cake baking religious freedom.

  • No it specifically cites God punishing heterosexual IDOLATORS by turning them into homosexuals– maybe.

  • “I would say then that hermeneutics is an idol, bibliolatry is the disease.” If so, then Jesus Himself was the greatest bibliolater of all. At least 25 times in the gospels, in response to various questions: “It is written…” or “Haven’t you read the scriptures?”

    Not to mention, “Man shall not live by bread alone [fleshly concerns] but by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matt.4:4
    Or “”You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Matt.22:29.

    And ultimately John 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…and the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us.”

    “But you’re a sola scriptorum girl, and so the spirit moving otherwise except through your interpretation of your holy book will never reach you.”

    But you’re an atheist, so this Spirit in which you not believe but which never denies what He has already revealed will never reach you at all.

  • False equivalency, and you know it.

    Jesus was quoting the Torah of his time, not a 2000 years old book that has gone through multiple translations, redactions,. Editings, political manoeverings, and so on. nor did he seem to find time to expound upon your favorite sin, when he could have. But you are willing to squeeze a diatribe against homosexuality of what little he did say. You’re a sola scriptorum girl, and you must fill in all of those blanks somehow.

    My point about Romans remains. Whatever else the bible might say on the subject– MIGHT– It’s very clear that the condemnation in Romans is not about homosexuality, but idolatry. Your way of dealing with the obvious is to expand the context way out of recognition, as in your explanation of what idolatry encompasses. ITS NOT THERE IN ROMANS. Paul does go on to describe those people, and they have no resemblance to gay people in general. .

    You bet I’m an atheist–well, as I have said many times before, an it doesn’t matterist, which is not the same thing– and religionists, and their silly insistence that they know what God wants and no one else can possibly know it, are one of the reasons that I am. But I am willing to accept that other people have had their contacts with the divine. I’m just not willing to ascribe those contacts to whatever fits between the covers of the KJV. I’ve certainly had some experiences of something I cannot explain, but I’m not willing to assert it was God, and especially, not the christian, three-in-one God.

    But let’s just end this conversation. Until next time.

  • “Jesus was quoting the Torah of his time, not a 2000 years old book that has gone through multiple translations, redactions,. Editings, political manoeverings, and so on.” Ben, you’re bound to know better than that. Corruption of the original OT was a common assumption of the era before the Dead Sea Scrolls. But now we have the Old Testament texts from shortly before the birth of Christ — and they are virtually identical to the Masoretic texts which date from the 9th century and form the authoritative basis for OT translations today. What’s more, we know how Jesus’ contemporaries understood them from Jewish writings that date from the first centuries of the Christian era.

    “Nor did he seem to find time to expound upon your favorite sin, when he could have.’ I suppose He could have had someone asked, but clearly this was not a gray area that anyone felt the need to inquire about. As well might you say “Jesus didn’t say we couldn’t marry our brothers or sisters.” Well duh — nobody thought they legitimately could. In this instance what He DIDN’T say screams louder than anything He COULD have said — which people would promptly commence explaining away just like they do with divorce. We know of a certainty that same-sex behavior was a capital crime under the Torah and everyone in 1st century Judea knew that…yet, He saw no need to address that, but instead instructed the people to “practice and observe everything they (the scribes and Pharisees) tell you” because they “sat in Moses’ seat.” I think we all know what you would say of a modern day teacher who made such a glaring “omission.”

    “Paul does go on to describe those people, and they have no resemblance to gay people in general.” He describes all manner of people who reject the “knowledge” (epignosei) of God. They’re not all gay, of course, and they’re not all idol worshipers in the “statue’ sense (though they ARE all idolaters because they place self first) but that is certainly two results among many.

    As for a “favorite” sin…I don’t have one. But as always, this issue has not garnered so much attention because of any ranking of sin but because it’s the one that you guys are insisting on a pass and a blessing for, and are encouraging those without the benefit of sound biblical knowledge (the “little ones” of the kingdom) to fall into sin. That’s a rather serious matter.

  • When you don’t understand the purpose behind a standard it’s very easy to characterize it as arbitrary. Nothing in the New Testament calls for inhumane treatment of Gays, it merely requires that Christian believers refrain from the practice of homosexuality. No one is holding a gun to anyone’s head (in this country) requiring them to adhere a particular religion, but when you join a sect or denomination you are obliged to adhere to the precepts of that group. The burden thus lies with the individual, not the faith community of which they aspire to be a member. Call it bigotry if you will, but that is clearly a misnomer.

  • I see Jesus answering the Pharisees regarding marriage and divorce but not on matters with regard to the governance of the church.

  • Not my point. Jesus had a far more charitable view of women than those with him or after him.

    Then again governance of the church was not part of anything relating to the actual words of Jesus. His “Church” was a loosely organized band of followers. But thank you for pointing out points in the new testament where the followers of Jesus start diverting from his sentiments. He is not really as important to Christians as they claim apparently.

    By all means provide quotes where Jesus was so uncharitable and harsh about women and their role in society.

    All in all it’s telling how people only rely on proof texting as arguments with others and don’t accept it in response to one.

  • If a standard lacks a rational basis besides “god says so” you can’t call it anything but arbitrary.

    ” Nothing in the New Testament calls for inhumane treatment of Gays, it merely requires that Christian believers refrain from the practice of homosexuality.”

    Pure double talk. The actions done against gays are inhumane. Making excuses of divine mandate or permission don’t change it. Anti gay Christian practice amounts to malicious actions, deliberate denigration, deliberate demeaning and blatant discrimination against gays.

    “but when you join a sect or denomination you are obliged to adhere to the precepts of that group”

    No arguments there. There is no reason the pastor should stay in a sect willing to treat her in such a poor manner. The sect is well within their rights to eject her. There are plenty of other sects far more willing to accept her.

  • That is interesting Sandi Luckins.

    Can you show me where Jesus said what you are attributing to Him, in the scripture please? (Chapter and verse)

    To be clear, I’d like you to point me to the actual verse where Jesus said homosexuals will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    I’d like to see this for myself rather than just what you say Jesus said.

    The reason I ask is that I don’t recall Jesus ever saying anything about homosexuality. Not one single word.

  • Same question to you Shawnie5. You seem to be able to quote scripture. I’m looking for the quoted words of The Christ. Where in scripture is it recorded that Jesus of Nazareth said homosexuals will not enter the kingdom of heaven? You seem to be agreeing with Sandi that this is fact. Please enlighten us with the scripture she is quoting and you are agreeing with when you say, “Indeed” (and you do not point out to her that Jesus did not say what she is attributing to Him)

  • I’m sorry but then you do not know Who Jesus is, Paul You may be interested in John 1:1-10 and Genesis 3:22 to get a better understanding. You may also be interested in 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17. blessings.

  • It is a sad day for the church that forced her resignation. I hope that all the people in that church are not as narrow minded as the people who asked her to leave. I hope that there were some in that church who would do as Jesus would have done, supported her, and given her the courage to seek a more Christian annual conference.
    There are six annual conferences that are in “Non Compliance,” with the BoD. My annual conference, the New England Annual Conference, is one of those six, and we would welcome her with open arms!
    What happened to the motto “Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors?” I may have those words in the wrong order, but in any order, we are not doing any of those things in many UMC annual conferences.

  • This is 2016, and in 1976 the Society of Psychiatry and Psychology decided that Homosexuality was no longer in the DSM V ( This was a diagnostic manual that listed mental diseases, or disorders.) These learned men and women knew science, unknown during the time that the Bible was written, and science proven that a person was born to be LBGT, and that approximately 10% of the population is LBGTQAI.
    During all the years that the Bible was written men felt that the Sun revolved around the Earth, and that the Earth was flat. We know, today, that neither of these things is true. So, too, it is with sexual orientation, it is not a choice, it is a chance. You may have a family member, doctor, neighbor who is LBGTQAI.

  • Actually I was agreeing with her statement that it isn’t loving to condone sin because sin leads to destruction. But since you asked, Jesus stated in Matthew 15 that defilement (or uncleanness) is not a matter of ritual but proceeds from the heart from which sin, in turn, proceeds. He listed a number of sins that defile us, and one of those is “sexual immorality,” or in the original Greek “porneia.” Open any Greek lexicon and you will find a list of sexual practices that are encompassed by that term, one of which is homosexual behavior.

  • “Then again governance of the church was not part of anything relating to the actual words of Jesus.”

    “If your brother sins, go and confront him privately. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, regard him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Matt.18:15-17.

  • Don’t be sorry. You’re judging me wrongly. I know Him well. You might think you know Him better, but that’s just your opinion.

    You’re on a pointless crusade Sandi. It seems like it might take until He returns before you realize it!

  • I agree, except about the question of same sex love, faithful committed covenant relationships, not cultic, recognizing and loving my triune God first, then my spouse and my other neighbors. That isn’t sin (no matter how many times we argue about the exegesis of 6 or 7 verses out of 31,102 in the books of the bible)

    My life has been blessed beyond all expectation, and I am honored that my Father created me and my spouse in His image, then allowed through His spirit to make our lives together so rich in relationships with Him, our fellow Christians in the body of the church and with those in our community.

    Praise God!

  • I love this self centered belief that people are going to think of you Bernie. At judgement time it is all about Him and His. Not about Bernie or how righteous Bernie was. There won’t be any thoughts of you sir. Rest easy, you’ll be blamed for nothing on this particular matter.

    Now on the matter of preaching hate, that homosexuality is sinful etc… Well that’s a matter for you and Him. You think you’re right, some agree and some others don’t. Not relevant whether we agree; bigger question is about love and grace.

  • You cannot be that naive Sandi…

    You just pretend to ignore the obvious: The fact that your beliefs about same sex marriage and human sexuality differ from mine and many others. You say sin (because the bible tells you so) while I say not sin (because the bible tells me so)

    We can quote verses all day and night, but none will be new arguments. I can’t make you believe different and you can’t make me believe differently either.

    We just have to wait. Meantime bigger fish to fry!

  • Points? Are you trying to arrive at scriptural truth or win a game?

    It’s Jesus identifying same sex behavior as sin. That’s about all we need to know.

  • Actually, He has asked all who believe in Him to help people learn the things He has taught. If you knew Him, you would have known His Word, Paul. That is why I don’t believe you know Him. Look up the Revelation 22:14 & 15. You’ll get what you are looking for – right out of Jesus’ mouth.

  • “All in all it’s telling how people only rely on proof texting as arguments with others and don’t accept it in response to on”

    If you are going to spend time and energy tearing down the Christian Faith then you need to go to what Christians consider Gods one revelation to the people, the Bible. Secondly, haven’t you already said it when you quoted our Lord in “Have you not read?” Thirdly, Christians believe in the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and that all scripture is Theopneustos or breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16). The central theme of the Bible, that being the gospel, is threaded throughout the Bible.

  • I stand up for all sodomites to retain the right of self-determination and to repent and believe. No homosexual should be subject to anyone who, out of “love and grace,” takes away their rights to be free from life-besetting sin, condemning them to a prison of fruitless seeking, and them throwing away the key.

  • Is Jesus the son of God, the second person of the Trinity? He Was He also known as the Word also with the Father from the beginning (John 1:1)? Jesus is always in agreement with the Father, therefore he is in agreement with His law. Many argue that Jesus never condemned homosexuals, however Jesus never addressed many issues point by point except to say that he did not come to abolish the law (Matt 5:17). He gave a positive witness for God’s plan for marriage by affirming Genesis 2:24. Secondly most Christians are not the Red Letter variety but consider “the whole counsel of God” otherwise you leave out the other 62 books of the Bible. Also Christians understand that all scripture is of the inspiration of God, that it is breathed out by God, so you cannot consider what Jesus says in Matthew or John without not taking into account what the rest of the Bible says.

  • No, I don’t want to learn about what you judge to be sin. You’re right that Jesus has more important things to teach than your comments here and other places so far.

    Blessings!

  • He has not asked anyone to be a false teacher though Sandi.

    Fascinating that you think you know my job, whether I am a day/night worker or retired/unemployed, or too young to work. I wonder how people (and He) perceives your judgement! He knows our hearts, and one day we will all learn His judgment.

    Not for you nor I to pass our interpretation and judgement on others.

    I’m sure there must be SOME common ground we share, even if it is difficult to find it in your many human sexuality related postings.

    Blessings!

  • It’s not the Christian faith I am tearing down. I was actually defending one sect from the unwarranted criticism of another. A major flaw of fundamentalist thinking is the idea that only their views comprise the whole of Christianity.

    It’s the lazy and uncivil behavior of certain Christians I am criticizing. In your sectarian zeal you labor under the self styled delusion of speaking for an entire faith when you clearly don’t.

    Proof texting in response to a criticism of proof texting says nothing here other than a desire to use scripture in self serving ways.

  • well thank you. When you start to teach what Christ has taught, perhaps we can become friends. Blessings.

  • I don’t tell you what I judge as sin, as my opinion is of no relevance. I just quote Christ.

  • No you do not just quote Christ. You selectively quote Christ.

    You choose to focus, apparently almost exclusively on human sexuality and what you believe, through an interpretation of scripture.

  • Christ taught a lot of things (though what you discuss online using your Disqus account might suggest you focus only on a very small part of scripture!)

    It might be narrow minded to suggest that I do not share the teaching of Christ based on the single subject of human sexuality and what you read of my opinion in this area of scripture alone.

  • I personally, as someone who has had the ‘benefit” of psychological counseling at different periods in my life (I’m employing the policy of Full Disclosure) scoff at the so called objective qualifications of the Society of Psychiatry and Psychology, though I would not characterize homosexuality as a mental disorder in any case. How ever, science has not “proven” that people are “born” to be LBGT. What utter nonsense. I have known several gays in my life, including a family member who can’t decide from one day to the next what their sexual orientation is. And any number of people in the biblical era knew and understood that the earth was not flat, the misperception that the sun revolved around the earth is more understandable. Astronomical physics has come a long way. The notion that the earth was flat gained it’s greatest in the Dark Ages before the great explorations by Vespucci, Columbus and others. Columbus was not trying to prove the earth was round, he knew that already, he was just looking for a shorter trip around the globe.

  • I suppose “I say so”, or “We say so” works so much better. No double talk, by some people’s objective standard merely expressing disapproval of homosexuality is inhumane and worthy of judicial punishment. On your final point, at last you and I agree wholeheartedly on your final two sentences.

  • You haven’t shown me that you believe what Jesus has taught about homosexuality, so how can I trust you with anything else? If you discount one area of scripture….

  • No. I quote Christ, thank you. Perhaps it is you who doesn’t know what he is discussing?

  • It’s what you are doing anyway. You are saying “I say so and God somehow agrees with me”. You are simply using euphemisms to cover activities, which are by any objective standard and if done to you, would be considered malicious, harmful and discriminatory. Claiming a mandate from god doesn’t make something right. Usually one is trying to claim such things to excuse something which is considered very wrong.

  • Yet Jesus did not say a single word about homosexuality. Not one word!

    I’m surprised you say you know Him, but you seem to insist on putting words into His mouth. False teacher?

  • You have not shown me where the Christ’s words were about homosexuality.

    You have quoted scripture, but none of it about Christ speaking on the subject of Homosexuality.

    I could be wrong about homosexuality and God’s desire for 3%-7% of His children. Equally, so could you!

    This is an awesome sermon at the link below. I appreciate you “Don’t click on links from people you do not know” (you have said that before to dismiss me) but it is here for others who might be interested…

    https://vimeo.com/167766419
    Peace and love!

  • Sandi, You have just quoted what is surely one of the most vicious judgments of all time, thinking no doubt that you are quoting “the Word of God”.
    Now I will quote you the very next four verses from “the Word of God”:
    Romans Ch.2

    1 “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
    Maybe Paul took one of his long trips between the writing of Ch.s 1 and 2 of Romans, and FORGOT what a judgemental bastard he had been in Ch.1 !!!

    Despite Paul’s having said some GOOD things, he also authored some of the Bible’s most DEPLORABLE teaching, as I expose at http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/PaulvsAll .

    Why can’t so-called “Christians” who constantly invoke Paul’s, rather than Jesus’ teaching, call themselves what they actually ARE, “Paulians”?

    Rev. Ray Dubuque, founder of “Liberals like Christ”.

  • 2 Timothy 3:16English Standard Version (ESV)

    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

    lol……lol……you are so lost! John 7:24 – New International Version
    Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly
    Ray, you should be worrying about Galatians 1:8-10. blessings to you! (edited)

  • Despite Paul having written some GOOD things, he also authored some of
    the Bible’s most DEPLORABLE teaching, as I expose at
    http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/PaulvsAll . So-called “Christian conservatives” won’t ADMIT IT, but whom they quote most often makes it obvious that they love Paul more than Jesus, because unlike the LIBERAL Jesus, Paul has provided conservatives with an endless supply of ammunition for them to use in their efforts to keep women, slaves, gays, and Jews DOWN, and to lift UP dictatorial, patriarchal power, as I show using Paul’s own words at that site.

    Why can’t so-called “Christians” who constantly invoke Paul’s, rather than Jesus’ teaching, call themselves what they actually ARE, “Paulians”?

    Rev. Ray Dubuque, founder of “Liberals like Christ”.

  • Sandi says that the PROOF that Paul’s writings are “the greatest” is that HE SAYS SO ! That’s as silly as a dog chasing his own tail.
    I’ll bet Sandi supports Donald Trump, too, because he says “Trust me, I’m the greatest everything that I can think of boasting about ! “

  • Have YOU, wesleyangun, ever read the Bible? Did you do it with your brain turned on? If so, what did you think of the parts highlighted at http://WhatKindofGod.org , i.e the kind in who’s name all kinds of inhumanity has been wrought for centuries ?

  • Sandi, You have just quoted what is surely one of the most vicious
    judgments of all time, thinking no doubt that you are quoting “the Word
    of God”.
    Now I will quote you the very next four verses from “the Word of God”:
    Romans Ch.2
    1″You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else,
    for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself,
    because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that
    God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So
    when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same
    things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show
    contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not
    realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
    Maybe
    Paul took one of his long trips between the writing of Ch.s 1 and 2 of
    Romans, and FORGOT what a judgemental bastard he had been in Ch.1 !!!

    Despite Paul having said some GOOD things, he also authored some of the
    Bible’s most DEPLORABLE teaching, as I expose at
    http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/PaulvsAll .

    Why can’t so-called “Christians” who constantly invoke Paul’s, rather than Jesus’ teaching, call themselves what they actually ARE, “Paulians”?

    Rev. Ray Dubuque, founder of “Liberals like Christ”.

  • Sandi, when Peter directed that we “Always be ready to answer any man concerning your faith.” { 1 Peter 3:15 } , I don’t think he meant “yawn” !

  • If one needs to condemn the messenger, it just proves you have nothing to fight with. Try again Ray.

  • I rely on the written works of all the Apostles who contributed to the composition of the Bible, as well as the Savior of course. And I suppose by the standards of His day, Jesus might rightly be construed as a “Liberal,” but His liberality does not conform in many ways to what passes for liberalism today.

  • The UMC is has open hearts, minds and doors to the repentant sinner, not the one who wants to “splash” their sin all about, and ignore the scriptures.
    There are at least 9 passages in the New Testament that describe homosexuality as sin.
    The goal of the church is to demote sin, not promote it. It is not a social club, but a spiritual health family. Occasional sin is tolerable, but outright, continuous sinning is not. Anyone who actually walks with Jesus knows this.
    JOHN 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”

  • While Christians are not to be outwardly judgmental, they are to discern and not tolerate continuous sinning and be a party to it. Clearly Paul in I Corinthians, Chapter 5, teaches to put out of the congregation those that fornicate and that implies other sexual sin behavior, such as homosexuality, in fact the entire list at the end of Romans, Chap 1.

  • There are at least 9 passages in the New Testament that describe homosexuality as sin.
    The goal of the church is to demote sin, not promote it. It is not a social club, but a spiritual health family. Occasional sin is tolerable, but outright, continuous sinning is not. Anyone who actually walks with Jesus knows this.
    JOHN 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”

  • I agree Jim. Whenever I see that banner on a UMC building, I think there should be an asterisk indicating small print at the bottom:

    *Certain restrictions apply. Void where prohibited, and we prohibit a lot!

  • It is not a matter of “good enough” but a matter of which direction you want to go in. Do you want to improve your life via a less sinful life, or degrade it via increased sin. The church is a spiritual family working to demote sin, not promote it. It accepts the horrible sinner, many millions of times, but with the goal of improvement, not regression, or stagnation.

    Some are trying to join the church and do not care about becoming more holy, and think it is OK to just flaunt sin before others.

  • Would a hospital let a very sick person be admitted who said, “Accept me as I am, but do not cure me. I just want to waste your time and money and hang out in a hospital bed.” ???
    So why do you think the church should not say, “Yes, we accept you as you are now, but you must want to become more holy and less sinful, and actually demonstrate this through faith and through actions.
    Some homosexuals come to have Christ save them and then make an effort to be heterosexual or celibate, while others think it is OK to continuing sin all the time.

  • Would a hospital tell a very healthy, happy person, “No, we’ve decided you’re very sick and we’re going to force you to accept the treatment we have decided you need. We don’t care how well you feel. We are convinced we know better.”?

  • The church is a higher-level hospital. It does not force anything on anyone, you are right, but at the same time, it cannot let others who are sick with a contagious disease, infect the others. So like any good hospital, it quarantines some.

  • You are the one who introduced to hospital metaphor, and now you are modifying it because it doesn’t actually fit. The crux of the matter is, you’ve decided certain people are I’ll, when in fact they are not.

    No, the bible does not condemn contemporary LBTG folks. But I’m sure you refuse to accept current research that shows many errors in translation and meaning.

    To return to the hospital metaphor, I’m sure you accept and make use of new treatments for illnesses and conditions there. But if it conflicts with long held spiritual beliefs, that’s a different story. I understand that and I’m not trying to take that away from you. Hang onto whatever you like, just don’t insist that others do the same.

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