If you’ve been following the news recently, you might have seen the story about United Methodist Pastor Frank Schaefer who was suspended for 30 days for performing the marriage service for his gay son. I am part of a large segment of the United Methodist Church who support Pastor Frank, and who believe that God made people exactly how God wanted them to be made.
Our church motto is “Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors”. That means a lot.
I base my faith on scripture. But I also look to church tradition, reason, and my own experience. (This is called The Wesleyan quadrilateral.) Thinking, feeling people know that sometimes church traditions need to change.
Here is more about my faith as a United Methodist woman. I keep this statement as a permanent page on my blog.
I’ve been a Christian since the first time I read the Bible in its entirety in the sixth grade and asked God to be my pilot. I’ve read the Bible many, many, many times since. I believe in the transforming power of Christ.
I believe that the Bible is God’s living word, but that it is not literal history. The two differing time-lines and two different creation stories in the first few chapters of Genesis convince me of this.
I do not believe that the Earth is “young”. I do not believe that humans and dinosaurs lived on Earth at the same time.
I also don’t believe that God is “male”. I believe that God is bigger than we can define Him (or Her).
You can’t put God in a box. God is bigger than a box. You can’t define God. God is bigger than definition.
I believe that women should be allowed to be ministers. I believe Mary Magdalene was an important member of Jesus’s crew.
I also believe that Phoebe was a deacon. My understanding is that Paul used the word “diakonos” thirty four times and that it always gets translated as “minister” or “deacon” except the one time he uses it in reference to a woman. In reference to Phoebe, the word diakonos is often translated as “servant”. (Romans 16:1) That does not seem fair!
I also would side with a large portion of the Methodist church that believes that God made gay people exactly how God wanted them to be made, and that homosexuality is not a sin.
I believe that Steve Camp and Mary Lambert can both teach us about God.
I believe in caring for the Earth and God’s creation. I can’t understand how some people think it’s okay to trash the environment and then say that is God’s plan. God created us. God created the Earth. Let’s care for everything.
I do not believe that God cares about politics. I do not believe God has sanctioned Republicans, Democrats, or Libertarians as the “true” party. But if I was going to talk about politics I’d mention that George Bush and Hilary Clinton are both Methodists!
I believe Jesus would want everybody to have health care.
I do not believe that God agrees with anything Ayn Rand stood for.
I don’t know if Jesus would like the way some Christian financial gurus talk to people. I don’t think Jesus would care if you paid with a debit versus a credit card, so long as money wasn’t controlling you.
I reject the practice that a lot of Christians engage in these days, that makes family almost a cult. (I’m thinking of the Duggars on TV.) I disagree with homeschooling your children for the primary purpose of “being closer as a family”. Homeschooling your kids so they can have a great education is wonderful. Homeschooling your kids so they will become your clones is wrong.
I believe you can send your children to public school and still be a good Christian.
I believe in teaching children to think, not just memorize.
I don’t think you can force a child to believe how you believe. I believe in giving children free choice about their faith, and educating them about religions outside of Christianity.
I strongly disagree with isolating children from other points of view.
I believe in thinking about God, not just believing hook, line and sinker what somebody from a pulpit tells me to.
I believe in living my life in a way that I believe Jesus would live it. I am far from perfect! But I believe that service, not valuing possessions, and giving to others in need is really important.
I believe that the purpose of my life is to form relationships in three important ways: a relationship with God, relationships with each other, and a relationship with God’s creation.
I do not believe in arguing about any of this.
(There is a story behind that thinking, but a blog is not the place to explain why.)
My witness is how I live my life, which is far from perfect, but full of love.