(United Methodist Reporter) Bishop Talbert's Officiating at a Same Sex Wedding Raises Many Questions

Was ..[this] event the first step in the unraveling of the United Methodist Church, or was it (as some attendees at the wedding suggested) no big deal?

Within the broader culture this probably isn’t a big deal in the face of more and more states legalizing gay marriage. The writing is pretty much on the wall that the legal distinctions between homosexuality and heterosexuality are eroding, and that a secular society can embrace the belief that all people are invited to the table and can share in the benefits of covenanted, mutual monogamy.

But the issues involved for our church are more troubling for Bishop Talbert’s actions raise more questions than simply whether gay folks can marry. The issues are many: the radical differences in culture between the various regions of the country (let alone the world); the nature of the vows clergy make and the covenant between them and the church; the lack of trust between members of the Council of Bishops, which permeates the larger church; our belief in a system of governance based on corporate discernment and how we respond when a minority believes that that actions of the majority are unjust. In off-the-record conversations with a few bishops I’ve heard concern and predictions that the divisions are too great, and that the covenant that they hold with one another is broken. For some the notion of a retired bishop challenging the practice of ministry of an active bishop in her episcopal area and defying her authority raises issues about the place and status of retired bishops and the need for term episcopacy like that of the Central Conferences.

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

One comment on “(United Methodist Reporter) Bishop Talbert's Officiating at a Same Sex Wedding Raises Many Questions

  1. BlueOntario says:

    It’s very interesting that so much of the commentary in the UMC over this action and the issue in general always falls back to the Book of Discipline rather than a debate on Scripture. I get the feeling that some of those people are relying on what they are more familiar with. The few times I do see the argument refer to Scripture, the common argument is that is doesn’t say what it says, or we’re smarter than that now, leaning on the last part of the “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds” part of the UMC campaign started in 2001; for some that Bible has become an option and subject to personal interpretation in the UMC.

    I think as far as the leadership of the American part of the church is concerned, all is well – note the Judicial Council’s rulings on the New York and California resolutions. How conservative congregations and with that part of the church outside of the United States respond remains to be seen. The next General Conference is in 2016. Will Methodists wait that long to draw their lines?