Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Even More Thoughts on General Conference 4/30

Today has been a hotbed of intense debate and decision. The majority of this was on GBLT issues and the future of homosexuality and the church. I sum up the events of the day with the line, "it's the same ol' story, same ol' song and dance." The debate on GBLT issues has continued since 1972 when the line "homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings". A Judicial Council decision 1032 where the idea that the pastor has the final say whether or not a person is ready to become a member. The pastor in the Virginia Conference deferred membership to a openly gay man. The petition 80088 states that the pastor and congregation must receive all people who wish to become members. The rationale is that grace is abundant for all and that if we disallowed sinners the churches would be empty. The minority report wanted to uphold the JC decision and give the pastor the final say. The rationale is that people might try to take advantage of open membership for selfish gain, i.e. wedding discounts, and KKK recruitment (That is not my example, a clergy person actually stood in front of the body and said that a KKK member might join a church to recruit members, I would laugh if it wasn't so sad and pathetic). They say that the pastor must regulate the membership of the church. Personally I don't really want that responsibility.

BTW, the petition just failed by 8 votes. The Discipline language will remain ambiguous. This is disappointing and is another example of the impotence of the 2008 General Conference. The make big statements on easy subjects and ignore the tough issues.

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