Letters to the Editor: Aug. 7, 2015

On discussing controversial topics

Annual Conference set aside Resolutions 1 and 3 without complete voice. Here’s my “voice”: can’t we be more welcoming? Drop the language “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings,” as there are other lifestyles incompatible with Christian teachings. We don’t debate resolutions about materialism, and yet Jesus said we cannot serve both God and money.

For my daughter, Carole, it was her partner who said, “Something is missing that we had at Sunday School growing up.” Through her partner’s influence, Carole returned to a United Methodist Church, which, thankfully, welcomed them without judgment. Now my grandchildren go to Sunday School! God was working through Carole’s partner, and so I learned to let God be Judge. Similarly, my faith makes me a pacifist, and my younger daughter runs a gun store. Our theologies disagree on gun usage, but the family pulls together. We choose to act in love, even when we don’t agree. Love allows us to be family despite differences.

I wish the United Methodist family could treat one another with that kind of love—one that acknowledges that we are not in agreement on some issues, but the same Father works within us all, transforming us. Let God’s mercy reign!

Rev. Jenni Duncan
St. Andrew UMC Little Rock

Those of us on the Petitions and Resolutions Task Force worked with Bishop Mueller to encourage a kinder dialogue surrounding controversial resolutions and petitions at Annual Conference 2015, including prayer, table discussion and passing the peace.

Some in the Conference chose combat over respectful dialogue, employing parliamentary tricks to stop discussion on Resolution 1 and to block consideration altogether on Resolution 3. These members would have opposed the resolutions anyway, but they circumvented the new format instead of simply voting “no.”

Both resolutions concerned human sexuality. The global church is torn over statements about homosexuality in the Book of Discipline. The Supreme Court decision in Obergefell has accelerated the debate in this country. There is confusion, pain, misunderstanding. But if we meet in a spirit of Holy Conferencing, we learn about each other’s individual stories and viewpoints and achieve understanding.

Debate must be done in a spirit of respect, not of one-upmanship, not masked in parliamentary maneuvering. The new format is a good way to do things. When we are refused the right to debate, we all lose. Such behavior must stop. We must have conversation if the United Methodist Church is to make disciples, to grow, or even survive.

Harold Hughes
Quapaw Quarter UMC Little Rock

An opinion on a controversial topic

As a Christian, I cannot understand how people are condoning and supporting the gay, lesbian or transgender lifestyles. They fall under the category of “sexually immoral” and God calls it an abomination to him (Lev 20:13). It really upsets me that our children are being exposed to such sinful acts and leading them to believe it’s okay.

I am appalled that some of our church leaders are supporting this.

The “open hearts, open minds, open doors” policy of the Methodist Church is partially right; our doors should be open to all who want to learn about God and accept Jesus into their lives, but we are not to change the words of the Bible just so we won’t hurt somebody’s feelings. The church can’t be “open minded” to today’s life-styles, it must stand for what the Bible teaches (II Tim 3:16).

We have set back and allowed these people to force their way of life on us. It’s time for Christians to speak out and stand up for what the Bible teaches, after all, it’s God we’ll have to answer to, not man!

Sandra Faulkner
DeAnn UMC Hope

 

Letters to the Editor policy:

  • All letters must be signed (name and city/church) and include the writer’s phone number or email address. Letters may be sent to editor@arumc.org, or to 800 Daisy Bates Drive, Little Rock, AR 72202.
  • The editor reserves the right to edit letters for style and length. Letters longer than 200 words will not be considered for publication.
  • The Arkansas United Methodist will not print letters containing personal attacks.
  • The Arkansas United Methodist reserves the right to publish Letters to the Editor in print, on the web, or both.