Saturday, April 30, 2005

Stroud reversal

United Methodist New Service
NPR News

New! Interview with Beth Stroud
New! Beth Stroud's website


Yesterday, on my birthday, a church appeals court reversed the decision that had defrocked Elizabeth "Beth" Stroud for being a self-avowed practicing homosexual. I have to say, I'm glad about this change. I know that this is a divisive issue in The UMC, and I know that this reversal required quite a bit of legal juggling. Still, I just don't understand why homosexuality is the only specific criteria that can disqualify someone in The UMC from being clergy. The only other requirements are evidnece of gifts and graces and fitness for ministry. Yet for some reason we disqualify GLBT persons, while we don't specifically disqualify murderers, sex offenders, pedifiles, thieves... It makes no sense whatsoever to me.

Furthermore, I know many gay and lesbian persons who are clearly fit for ministry, clearly show the gifts and graces, clearly evidence a call from God for ordained ministry. How is it that we think we can stand in the way of a clear call from God? Why do we think we know better than the evidence God gives?

I note that yesterday was also the recognition day for two other women. The first was Catherine of Siena, a 14th century mystic who struggled with the church because she received revelations from God that spoke in a feminine voice. The other was Laura Askew Haygood, a teacher and missionary of The Methodist Church, South, who broke social norms by going to China as a missionary and founding a school for Chinese girls.

Both these women received clear calls from God that the church had trouble accepting. We seem to still have trouble accepting God's movement in the world.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen.

I think we may have trouble accepting God's movement in the world because God is so unexpected, and so cunningly opportunitstic! And it would be much handier if we could just keep God in our back pockets and take God out to cosh the people we disagree with. You know, the Bad Guys. :)

5:53 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

But from what I read it looked like the reversal was based on a "technicality" (for lack of a better term) and that she could be retried. I think the person presiding over the appeal even said that there was a lot of "evidence" against her.

I think the whole thing is ludicrous, but the south/southeast is turning the UMC into another branch of the Republican party.

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