Today I had the privilege of speaking to a class of seminary students preparing for ordination. I’m not really sure how to put into words what this experience was like except to say that it was an honor. I am thrilled that there are professors who feel that this particular issue is important enough that they would set aside an hour of their class for me to share. I planned about 20 minutes worth of material and then fielded questions for about 45 minutes. I loved every minute of it. The conversation that happened today was precisely the kind that I’ve been envisioning for months. The students were interested. They asked difficult questions. We wrestled with complicated scenarios together. And, most of all, a lot of interest was expressed in learning how to deal faithfully and compassionately with the LGBT community. More conversations like this need to happen. I hope the students gained as much from our time together as I did.
Not surprisingly, especially given the content of the class (required for United Methodist ordination), several questions were asked about ordination of LGBT clergy. Some of these questions were harder to field than others and I want to re-iterate something I stated during the presentation.
There are faithful Christians who believe that monogamous same-sex relationships are not sinful. There are also faithful Christians who believe that any same-sex relationship is sinful. I won’t weigh in on this. But one thing I will weigh in on – No church should ever deny a celibate Christian from seeking ordination, even if he/she happens to be attracted to members of the same sex. Denying someone ordination, or any level of full involvement in the church merely because of which sex he/she is attracted to is completely, utterly wrong because it has no basis in Scriptural truth. Attraction is not a sin, and it has never been described as such in Scripture.
What does your church denomination believe? Do you know? What do you think about ordination of our LGBT brothers and sisters? LGBT friends, weigh in as well. I want this audience to hear your thoughts, feelings, frustrations, and hurts regarding this particular topic. Let’s talk!