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GC2019: Obsession With Other People’s Genitalia?

GC2019: Obsession With Other People’s Genitalia? February 26, 2019

How far will our obsession with other people’s genitalia go? What about men who have disfigured genitalia? The Bible also bans them from work in the religious holy places? Should we not have genitalia checks?  


how long will we stay obsessed with other people's genitalia


GC2019 reconvenes shortly. After yesterday’s deep disappointment, when the delegates voted to become the church of closed minds, closed hearts, closed doors, when the traditionalists celebrated their victory, when some teen, confused over sexuality and rejected by the church and very possibly by church-taught family, probably committed suicide, I wept.

After what I called “a date with the bartender” at my hotel, I went to my room, spoke at length to my husband who reminded me that I had predicted this, and then, miraculously, fell into a sound sleep.

I also know that even as I got to enjoy the luxury of some restorative sleep that many were meeting and looking for options to that the UMC won’t be known as the church that seeks the death of the GLBTQI community. Because if what happened yesterday is affirmed today in the Plenary Session, that will be our necessary moniker.

I admit I’ve left most hope of objectivity behind. How did I get so passionate about this? As I ponder this, I do know that I had my years of saying, “But the Bible says . . . ” and thus, with the traditionalists here, routinely relegated the gays and lesbians of my acquaintance to “less than” status.

And then, things changed. During part of those very conservative years, I also served in a staff/faculty position at one of those very, very conservative seminaries.

Somehow, word got around in the gay community that I was “safe” and people could talk with me. And so they came; they talked; they opened their hearts and their heartbreaks to me; they shared their passion for the Gospel; they revealed their fears of what would happen to them if the truth about them was also revealed.

Faces began to replace theory. I was also at the time deep in my studies of the Scriptures, fluent by then in written Hebrew and Greek, and discovering, to my horror, that much of what had been taught to me as “Thus says the Lord” was really, “I have no clue what exactly this passage means and if it means what I think it does, my whole theology will come apart, so I’m just going to toe the party line and say, ‘Thus says the Lord’ so you won’t have the same doubts I have.”


My world fell apart

My world fell apart. After three agonizing years of therapy and near-suicide, I walked away from a marriage that, in its iteration as informed by the conservative church, I had to abandon my mind and call myself a liar to stay in it. There were multiple other factors, but this may sum it up best.

After that, after the institution for which I worked terminated my employment for having instigated a divorce, after the pastor of my church phoned and called me “an evil and unrepentant woman,” I left the conservative world and found a theological home in the wonderful world of John Wesley and The United Methodist Church.

Yes, I was troubled by the words in the Book of Discipline, but, in my naivety, and at that point, lack of knowledge of how General Conferences work, guessed they would be temporary.

To find them hardened this way, even as I expected it and have, by now, followed church politics intently, has yet shocked me to my core.

I know that the church is not about this. I know it is wrong when the Bible, used as a weapon to label people as unclean or unacceptable in some way, has been turned into a weapon of death instead of a giver of life.


Who is next?

And I wonder who is next? With a church cleansed of gays, will it not also come after the divorced? If it going to say it is faithful to the letter of the Bible, then we also must go.

And also must women–because the Bible clearly labels us as “unclean” when we have our menstrual periods. I guess menopausal women might pass, but certainly not divorced ones.

And what about unmarried men? The Bible also clearly states that, to be an elder in the church, a man must have one wife.

How far will our obsession with other people’s genitalia go? What about men who have disfigured genitalia? The Bible also bans them from work in the religious holy places? Should we not have genitalia checks?

What about the childless, the infertile? The Bible clearly states that a barren woman and her husband are out of favor with God. We can’t have someone so clearly out of favor with God leading our churches.

And then there are the intersexed. Shall we just call them “God’s Mistakes” and eliminate them entirely?

Time for a deep breath, time to re-engage with GC as its morning worship is nearly over and the business session to start again, time to find yet once more life after death in whatever form it presents itself.

The Gospel will not die even if the UMC does.

Let the politicking begin.


Photo Credit: © Dreammasterphotographer | Dreamstime.com

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