A Response to Same-sex Marriages

Editor’s Note: Scott was asked to write an opinion piece after some recent comments on another published piece by UMR.  We think it is important to highlight the diversity of opinion in the UMC.  We always welcome well-written thoughtful submissions.

Thank you Scott.

 

by Scott Fritzsche

Commentary ImageAnother same-sex marriage took place in The United Methodist Church. It was of course highly publicized and caused the expected celebration — or concern, depending on your point of view. I hope to offer a bit of a different perspective here. One that has nothing to do with what those involved believe personally. I will refer to Bishop Talbert, not because he is the villain of the story, but because of his status as a bishop (retired) — because he is supposed to be a leader and shepherd. In reality, this is to all over those who have taken vows in The United Methodist Church.

Bishop Talbert, you have hurt your cause with many of us. You see, the issue is not what you believe or advocate for, but how you go about doing it. Many of us believe in the process we have. We believe the Holy Spirit still speaks to us through this, admittedly imperfect and often clunky, process. We believe that those who advocate for change in any particular area should have a voice in our increasingly global church. We also believe those who oppose change in any particular area should also have a voice. We believe the process we have allows for that. If it doesn’t, we are even open to changing it. Personally I would love to be able to talk about ways to streamline our process and bring more equality to our administrative structure to better reflect our global nature. I think we all have things to bring to the table, but that table has to be stable for the voices to be heard. The chaos caused by your actions flips over the table that we are all to be welcomed at. That ends the conversation. It does not start one. Flipping over the table hurts your cause.

I believe you are truly given to the promise of the The UMC, namely, making disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world but you hurt your cause. When Christ walked as the Word-made-flesh, there were conflicting voices, but He did not make disciples by bending to those conflicting voices. Rather, he made them with His own voice. The church, His Bride, is that voice on earth. Already, we present the world a muddled and confused voice because the Church is separated into communions and denominations, but then with your actions you cause our denominations to shatter our voice and our mission of unifying the Church. We do not have the model of Christ’s one voice making disciples, but rather the model of the mob sowing confusion. Christ’s one voice was heard in the proclamation from the Cross, “It is finished.” Bishop, the mob was heard calling for Barabbas, the easy revolutionary. I am not asking you to change what you believe to be true. I am not asking for you to stop advocating for what you are passionate about. I am asking you to advocate inside of the process that we have and to let the Spirit do His job. Sir, all I am asking of you is to please stop hurting your cause.

 

BioPicScott A Fritzsche is an active lay member in the United Methodist Church. He is a family man, loves Jesus and the church He established, serves when and where he is able, and regularly contributes to unsettledchristianity.com.

Special Contributor to UMR

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This story was written by a special contributor to The United Methodist Reporter. You may send your article submissions to
editor@circuitwritermedia.com
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9 Comments on "A Response to Same-sex Marriages"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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Kevin
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Poorly titled. This is a response to a bishop whose behavior is out of bounds. The author appears to not be in favor of same sex marriage but is clearly in favor of working within our system. I am totally onboard with that.

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[…] Read Scott’s commentary on UMR from May 2016: A Response to Same-sex Marriages […]

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[…] Read Scott’s commentary on UMR from May 2016: A Response to Same-sex Marriages […]

Scott T Imler
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The author seems to designate only the UMC’s conference structure as the appropriate place for the Spirit to intervene in making change. Invoking the “Bride of Christ” in arguing against “marriage equality” defies the very heart of the Christic Gospel, not to mention on its face injudicious. The Spirit lives, loves, and guides in all places and at all times, in the hearts of all believers. It is rare in any institution for genuine actions of the Spirit to come from the top town – and probably most distinctly in religious institutions, where the presupposition is that all is preveniently… Read more »
gerry mcdaniel
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United Methodists are ‘nice’ people so it is not surprising that some UMC’s are conducting a ‘nice’ coup. Nice or not a coup is designed to destroy the current system and replace it with one more suited to the coup members. What is being destroyed? A democratic system that has demonstrated it can and often has achieved a unity and agreement that is substantial (but not perfect) What will replace it? If history is to be the judge a system a lot less democratic and vulnerable to future coups. If the coup members succeed it is not hard to imagine… Read more »
Ursomniac
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When the UMC was pro-slavery, I suspect that many people felt that “working within the system” was the best course of action: after all why upset the apple cart. However, then – as now, apparently – when your system is fundamentally flawed, sometimes the best course of action is to stop enabling the flaw. Plainly, “get off the pot” and do the right thing – you’ve had DECADES to do this, and all you’ve accomplished in that time is to meekly stand by while people (extreme right-wingers) claim to speak for all of Christianity (which includes you). God is not… Read more »
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[…] At any rate, enough of the preamble. Take the time to read and as you do so ponder not about the beliefs involved for a moment, but in how those beliefs have been expressed. How we do things is just as important as why we do them. Read the piece from the United Methodist Reporter. […]

eniales
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Curious that the author would say that flipping over tables hurts Bishop Talbert’s cause. Jesus didn’t seem worried about hurting his cause when he flipped over the tables of the money changers. He just knew that what was going on was wrong and he made his point. Or maybe he should have just advocated inside of the process.

Scott Fritzsche
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If I was not clear enough about the point I was trying to make, I am sorry. I was attempting to make reference to the common thought that we all have a place at the table for discussion and the like, not make a correlation between what I wrote and Jesus in the temple which has to do with many things, but none of them really pertaining to the topic at hand I think. Thank you for pointing out that I ahd not been terribly clear.

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