It’s been quite a month for the issue of gay rights. Overshadowing court decisions and not-so-random acts of ecclesial disobedience have been two stories. Both have drawn in the media and enraged the public. One was suspension of “Duck Commander” Phil Robertson and the other was the defrocking of the Rev. Frank Schaefer. Both sides of this debate are on the warpath!
I’m one of the nutty people who takes time to read comments on internet articles and blogs. Yeah, I know. A big waste of time and far from being an accurate barometer of a cultural storm. However, I’ve never seen such wild ramblings from both sides.
And leaders within the Church are weighing in as well. An executive director for a religious gay rights network stated that the defrocking of Schaefer “will serve the purpose of galvanizing our movement for even greater acts of Biblical Obedience moving forward–we are only growing stronger.” And a video on a conservative site states that the United Methodist Church is moving toward schism. One needs only to look at how other denominations have fared to know the fracturing that likely awaits the UMC.
I never watch UFC matches (Ultimate Fighting Championship). The brutal commercials have an appeal. But I sense that the part of me which is drawn to the slugfests is not a part I want to feed. I can imagine as one fighter lands a head-jerking punch or a rib crunching kick, half the crowd cheers. Then others roar as their hero returns with a flurry of fists. For me, good sense says let’s ring the bell and end this thing.
For 40 years two extremes have slugged it out in various venues. A crowd of moderates have watched as each assault is launched and each point scored. Sometimes they cheer as an opponent staggers, or sigh with relief as someone survives until the bell is rung. Is it not time to disentangle the combatants?
Will the moderates please jump into the ring and moderate?!
This is not to assume that the moderates have no opinion. Most do. But as with other controversies which have faced the Church, most moderates vote for unity and hope the storm will blow over. Can we not see that this debate/dialogue/debacle is tearing us apart? Are we just going to let this match continue until one bloodied opponent concedes or flees the ring?
The Church must lead by example. There are bigger issues which call for our attention. Whether your tradition is Holiness or Contemplative, Charismatic or Incarnational, Social Justice or Evangelical, we must live with the tension of disagreement and work to address other more pressing issues.
What if we put the same amount of energy, passion and money into ending human trafficking?
What if we combined efforts to bring healing and reconciliation to victims of sexual abuse?
What could we accomplish if we focused our expertise on the marriages crippled by sexual addiction or sexual aversion?
These are sexual matters which are relevant to an ever growing majority of people.
For further insight on unifying our efforts, please read the article available on the resource page: “Sexuality and the Mess We’re In”.
And as always, your thoughts?