This commentary from the United Methodist News Service has me steamed. Written by Rev. Bruce Robbins, senior pastor of Hennepin Avenue UMC in Minneapolis, it demonstrates an amazing lack of understanding of the United Methodist position on homosexuality, a serious misperception of Wesleyan theology, and a rebellious spirit which should gain the attention of the author's bishop.
In the commentary, Rev. Robbins proposes a new category of church membership..."anticipatory membership". The category, "...would create space for those who understand the gospel as insisting upon full inclusion of the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community in the church." Now, since The United Methodist Church already affirms that homosexual persons are persons of "sacred worth" and are to be welcomed in the Church, Rev. Robbins clearly misunderstands. He looks forward to the day (which he apparently feels is inevitable) when homosexual behavior is no longer viewed as "incompatible with Christiann teaching" (UM-speak for "sin"). It is an arrogant presumption.
Right on the money is this rebuttal commentary by Rev. Bruce Stover, Cincinnati District Superintendent and senior pastor of Armstrong Chapel UMC. Rev. Stover correctly points out the severe theological and connectional problems with the proposal made by Rev. Robbins, saying that, "...there is a future reality beyond homosexual practice that represents God's fullest measure of grace." Thank God for Rev. Stover's words.
I am not bothered by the fact that there are those in the Church who disagree with the Church's position on homosexual behavior. What bothers me is the monumental misunderstanding of folks like Rev. Robbins, who are not being completely truthful with their parishioners regarding our position or the connectional system.