What's This? Lesbianism Is OK for United Methodist Church Laity But Not for the Pastors!

What's This?
Lesbianism Is OK for United Methodist Church Laity
BUT Not for the Pastors!

December 2, 2004 -- another infamous date in a growing list of the same in the United Methodist Church.

On that date a jury of 13 United Methodist Church pastors voted 12 to 1 to convict lesbian U.M. pastor Beth Stroud of violating the UMC Book of discipline concerning the prohibition of practicing a homosexual lifestyle by United Methodist pastors. Beth had preached a sermon at Germantown UMC in Philadelphia in which she revealed that she was living in a committed relationship with another woman. Beth was serving as an associate pastor at the Germantown Church at the time of her "coming out" sermon.

A complaint was eventually filed against Beth Stroud. A formal investigation into the complaint was conducted which resulted eventually in the trial which took place in the opening days of December 2004.

The penalty phase did not result in the same ratio of voting as was the case of the guilty verdict. The penalty was to revoke Beth Stroud's ministerial credentials by a vote of 7 to 6.

Now here is where a most interesting situation has been created as only it can be done within the United Methodist Church.

Beth Stroud will not lose her membership in the UMC. She will be considered an enrolled member in "good standing" and free to be involved in the life and ministry of the UMC as a lay person.

It has already been suggested that she will remain at Germantown UMC and will likely become part of the paid staff. Possibilities are virtually unlimited, including speaking from the pulpit and teaching!

The sodomite/lesbian connection has been highly critical of the United Methodist Church and has stated that the denomination is guilty of hypocrisy among other things.

Certainly this charge made by them is quite true, unfortunately. If anything, the UMC has only been consistent in its inconsistency!

In March 2004 Karen Damman of the Pacific Northwest Conference was put on trial and found not guilty in spite of the fact that she was living in an open lesbian relationship in the very same manner as was Beth Stroud.

In December 2004 Beth Stroud is found guilty of the same thing as that for which Karen Damman was acquitted. As a result Beth's ministerial credentials were revoked while Karen is still an ordained elder in the UMC.

Further, the message sounded out from the UMC after the Beth mess is this -- you can't be a practicing lesbian and be a United Methodist pastor at the same time, but as a lesbian who is in a committed relationship with another female it is quite acceptable to be an active and involved lay member of the UMC -- which means you can serve on committees in any capacity, including serving as a chairperson! And as previously mentioned, Beth Stroud will likely be a paid staff member at Germantown United Methodist Church.

If you can figure that one out, you have accomplished something that the vast majority of people cannot do -- most come to the conclusion that the UMC has a long road to travel before it becomes consistent in its dealings with the issue of sodomy and lesbianism.

With increased numbers being drawn into the "dialog" trap, there is no reason to believe that the UMC will become consistent any time soon. We will be reminded constantly by United Methodist "leadership" that we need to "respect" one another's views and continue discussion as we move through this "painful" time in the life of the church. It is not outside the realm of possibility that a beginning stage of resolving our "differences" will be the rephrasing of the Book of Discipline so that it will basically say that "Christians" do not agree on the issue of homosexuality, but do agree that we are all "children of God" and we need to work together, etc. All the while it will become even more obvious that something seems to be wrong somewhere as the lament over declining membership will continue without letup!

Those attempting to plainly and truthfully point out the reasons for the decline will be written off as a bunch of bigoted fanatics who have not yet learned to "respect" all differing points of view and to engage in "dialog" so that we better understand each other!

Come to think of it -- what do you suppose would have happened if God had sat down with the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah upon their invitation to "dialog" about the situation -- would they have insisted that He "respect" their views of sexual morality and quit taking a "judgmental" and "self-righteous" position? If it had really happened, maybe Sodom and Gomorrah would still exist today! After all, the "dialog" strategy is working effectively to bring us all to the point that certain sexual practices are OK and some of us have been wrong to suggest that they are not. And if it's OK for United Methodist laity to engage in them, why is it not OK for United Methodist pastors as well?

Stay tuned -- more chapters in the UMC adventures on human sexuality are yet to be written!

"I listened and heard, but they do not speak aright. No man repented of his wickedness, saying, 'What have I done?' Everyone turned to his own course, as the horse rushes into the battle. Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD. How can you say, 'We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us'? Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood.The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD; so what wisdom do they have?"
Jeremiah 8:6-9 NKJV

December 9, 2004
Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in full connection
Western Pennsylvania Annual Conferenc
The United Methodist Church
and presently pastor of
Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gipsy, Pennsylvania

It is time for You to act, O LORD, for they have regarded Your law as void. Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold! Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.

"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

Psalm 119:126-128; Matthew 10:24-28 NKJV

For further reference on UMC related & other relevant issues see:
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NOTICE: Soulforce is a gang made up of a group of persons of different denominational backgrounds, including Mr. Jimmy Creech, defrocked United Methodist pastor of some time back. Soulforce's goal is to force full acceptance of sodomy and lesbianism in all churches without any restrictions. Be sure to read an interesting challenge to Mel White and members of Soulforce to take their crusade to new heights they may not yet have considered -- see Open Letter to Mel White and Others of Soulforce, Inc.!

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