Well, I suppose it is no surprise to anyone following the Rev. Frank Schaefer story that the United Methodist Church in the United States performed its version of a crucifixion on Thursday by defrocking the minister, just in time for Christmas. So predictable. So much for the Christmas spirit in that institution, eh. The action comes after some member of the church complained to officials that the reverend had officiated the wedding ceremony of his own son — who happens to be gay. The church subjected the reverend to a trial, found him guilty, and gave him a month to decide whether he could uphold its so-called Book of Discipline. According to the Associated Press, the reverend “told officials Thursday morning that he could not follow a book that he feels is contradictory and biased against gay people.”
The church, incidentally, reportedly accepts gay members — it just won’t allow its clergypeople to perform same-sex marriages.
Two thoughts on this, both of which I have mentioned in earlier posts:
There are probably dozens of other churches that desperately want to have a teacher like Rev. Frank Schaefer, so he should have no problem finding another pulpit from which to teach that there is “no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation” and gender identity, as The Heartland Proclamation — signed by 263 clergypeople — declared. His brave stand against the Methodists’ Book of Discipline has been applauded by many in the global village we call the world. Yes, he is needed for greater causes than the same old Bible thump thumping in the Methodist Church. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Lord works in mysterious ways, and there will probably come a time when Rev. Frank Schaefer will view today’s events as a blessing.
As for the Methodists, well, the fact that they cast out someone who supports LGBT equality surely won’t sit well with LGBT members of the church, or with anyone there who supports LGBT people and equality for all. Expect to see the church lose some followers over this, but they probably won’t care.
I’ll write more on this later.