coolWe’re just a little bit out from the recent events of the United Methodist Conference in which they voted on whether or not to have full inclusion of LGBT clergy. This I think speaks to a deep divide in our country, culture, and church. I’m going to humbly propose a possible way forward and point out where I think each side is missing the mark. And it may bug some of you that I’m not going to reveal my own stance on the topic. But that’s part of the point I want to make.
Both Progressive and Conservative Christians think that to have fellowship with someone means that you agree with them, that you endorse their doctrinal statement. I don’t know where this came from, but its clearly not the way of Jesus. Jesus ate with (an act of friendship and fellowship in his culture) Pharisees, Tax Collectors, Prostitutes, and all sorts of people “good” Christians wouldn’t eat with or associate with. As you can imagine these people all had very different beliefs and practices. But befriending these people wasn’t an endorsement of their doctrines or behaviors.
If the greatest commandment is to “Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself,” we have no right to reject fellowship with Progressives if your conservative, and vice versa, or with those of the LGBT community. It’s more important that people (LGBT or otherwise) are totally 100% unconditionally love and accepted than that they know you’re particular doctrinal stances. If you fail to live this out, then you have failed to even strive to fulfill the greatest commandment.
Both Progressives and Conservatives seem more concerned with getting people to think just like them and place their own camp into a position of power than they are to fulfill the greatest commandment. Splitting the body of Christ is heresy and never acceptable. It was considered heresy in the early church and it should be now.
Homosexuality is not an issue of Orthodoxy, you can hold any particular stance on it and still be Orthodox. Historically what makes you Orthodox isn’t you’re view on Scripture or Homosexuality, but whether or not you affirm a Trinitarian understanding of God, the Full Humanity and Full Deity of Christ, The Bodily Resurrection and The Virgin Birth. And even if one is heretical you don’t get a pass from loving and accepting them. You still can disagree with them and fulfill the actions and behaviors of Christ. We need to stop fighting about secondary and Tertiary doctrinal issues and focus on the Historical Orthodox doctrines that all Christians, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant agree on.
It deeply saddens me to see how Christians are behaving towards other Christians and those that are marginalized. How can we serve as a witness of Christ if we can’t even love one another? There has to be a third way forward. I don’t have this all figured out, but neither do the Progressive Christians or the Conservative Christians. One group calls the other bigots while the other group defines who gets to be loved by Jesus, and vice versa.