I am amazed on the outpouring of bitterness and hatred this week. There have been two new trolls on my blog, a few dissenting voices and another venomous troll at a friend's blog -- all because I have dared to say that a gay person deserves membership in the church. I am amazed at the reactions of people who are not Methodist who are willing to jump in and point fingers at us and say "So HERE'S your loving and inclusive nature."
My reaction was pretty viceral -- I don't know if I want to be a part of a denomination that excludes membership of ANYBODY. The only questions I need to ask a potential member are in our Hymnal -- starting with asking is the person believes in Jesus Christ and ends with "Will you support this church with your prayer, presence, gifts and service?" Nothing in there about sexual orientation or anything like it -- except the renouncing sin. I did that when I joined the Church Universal -- yet I continue to sin. Am I to be thrown out or denied membership because of it?
There have been people who where allowed in our local church about whom I didn't have to make the decision. Primarily young couples, planning to marry, who were at the time living together. I'm glad I didn't have to make that call -- but I don't think I would deny them membership. I don't know. I guess one day I'll have to do that -- decide that is.
And I come back to two thoughts. First, Jesus' only prayer for his disciples is in John -- and it is a prayer of unity. He prayed that we would be as one (John 17: 11 -- I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.). Second, from 1 John 4:7-8 "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
Jesus want us to be as one -- and we do it through His love. Period. That's all folks. Unity in Love. Why is it so hard?