I'm a pretty moderate guy. I think myAssemblies of God, LCMS Lutheran, and evangelical friends would say I'm a bit left leaning, while my Main line buddies, i.e ELCA, DOC, UCC, PCUSA, etc would say I'm a little more conservative than they're comfortable with. So I think with them both being uncomfortable with many of my positions it makes me a good candidate for being a moderately progressive evangelical :) lol. Truth is I like to play both sides of the fence. Not to be controversial or "wishy washy", but because I think the heart of a truly reflective reformer wrestles with societies major issues and treads lightly within them.
The big issue trending within UMC Facebook groups and the religious media world is the trial of the Pennsylvania UMC pastor who, several years ago, married a gay couple. This is against the rule and Discipline of the United Methodist Church. It is a crime, a chargeable offense, which ought to result in the defrocking of any clergy who willing violates this rule. As is the case with most political, social and religious issues, I have an opinion...and so does everyone else. :)
As a UMC pastor, a role which I love and cherish, I am bound by covenant to up hold the doctrines and standards of the United Methodist Church. Let me preface any further statments with this: I love the UMC. If it were not for the UMC I would not have any faith to speak of. They came into my life when I was fed up with an empty, theologically bankrupt and socially irrelevant church. With that being said, all this fighting and arguing and the very real possibility of schism saddens me greatly as it should all peoples called Methodist. As sad as I am about the fighting and stuff, I'm even more saddened by other UMC clergy and their willingness to openly violate and disobey the rules and covenant they vowed to up hold. Thats what its all about...the total disregard for order and covenant.
I have always been a supporter of Gay rights, gay marriage and LGBTQI inclusion into the the life of the church...FULL INCLUSION, but I refuse, and so should all clergy, to willingly violate our covenant with the the church to further our own ideals. Do we not believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in our times of Holy Conferencing? General Conference has ruled since the late 70's to not allow Gay marriage and openly gay clergy. This is the body that speaks for the church, the world wide collection of United Methodists being led by the Holy Spirit...right? If we do not believe this than whats the point? Either we believe the Holy Spirit is active and working in Holy Conferencing or She's not, but which is it?
I whole heartedly believe that there will come a day where the church will have to move forward and fully accept LGBTQI persons, both into the ordained ministry and into the Sacramental act of marriage, but that day is obviously not today. Not only will we have to, but it's the right thing, but not like this. The Holy Spirit will speak through Holy Conferencing when the time is right. He has in the past, She will in the future. Until that day we need to hold the lines, remain faithful, and up hold the doctrine and Discipline of the United Methodist Church.