I have a friend and she’s amazing. She’s the kind of person that we all want to come through our church doors. Her smile easily lights up a room (even a sanctuary) and she has an awesome sense of humor. I can see her working with the youth of the church (and them loving her), I can see her warmly welcoming new families, and I can see her adding immensely to her faith community. My friend is someone we want and need in The United Methodist Church.
But my friend is not welcomed into The United Methodist Church.
I met my friend in college where we were both living in the same apartment complex. She had a sassy sense of humor and was so fun, we were friends quickly. The more I got to know her, I knew she was a good person. She and I talked about Christianity.
My friend is not welcomed in the United Methodist Church because of who she loves. My friend has a wife. A wonderful, healthy relationship that we all should strive for. But feels unwelcome in The United Methodist Church because of our official stance on homosexuality.
We’ve had conversations about Reconciling Ministries, but for my friend, the official United Methodist position on homosexuality is quite clear to her. I can’t say I disagree with her.
A few years ago, I was questioning why I was still a United Methodist. I am at least a fourth or fifth generation United Methodist. I agree with the church a lot, but I disagree with our stance on homosexuality. There are other churches that would welcome my beliefs, but someone told me, if you leave, who will be there to change the church.
I want to change the church for my friend. I want the church to finally affirm my friend and say to her, we welcome you. During General Conference, legislation for an open and affirming church will be brought forth and I can only pray that it will pass so my friend (and your friends) will all be welcomed regardless of who they choose to love.
My heart weeps for the United Methodist Church because my friend is amazing and the church would be a better place with her.
**These views are my own and please comment in love as I would like to share this with my friend.
Photo Credit: Flickr user ElenahNeshcuet, Creative Commons.