Today, I watched the UMC Called General Conference of 2019. Well, most of it. It was painful. Painful to watch the denomination that I had once chosen as a haven from previous religious dogma regress in time to fight the same battles as the other denomination ten, twenty, thirty years later. No, thank you. Been there, done that. Not again.
My heart breaks for those who have just been voted (and confirmed as) incompatible with Christian teaching. Frankly, I have no desire to be compatible with a teaching (of any ilk) that excludes people based on fear and ignorance. That’s right: Ignorance. I used to be on that side of things. I know the rhetoric; I’ve spewed it myself. I’ve pointed my fingers and slammed my fists too. I’ve had the smug self-righteous attitude that insisted that I was upholding the Word of God (yes, capital W). You know what I discovered? I was ignorant. And no, seminary didn’t brainwash me; Life happened. I had a little series of resurrections – but not before a few little deaths. Death of all the get-out-of-jail-free cards that ignorance uses to support the insupportable and laugh at (or bully) its opponents. Yep, I did that too.
Funny thing about learning and growing: you can’t go back. I can’t go back to a time when I thought God was on my side and it was ok to tell people that they are an abomination. I can’t go back to telling people they have to accept my way of understanding God or burn in hell. I can’t go back to thinking that I am the expert of other people’s lives and hearts and how God views them. I can’t go back to literalism, inerrancy, so-called biblical womanhood, biblical marriage, or any of the other hateful, harmful (yet socially-acceptable in some circles) life-sucking garbage I used to spout regularly.
The wounds are deep, Church. I’d like to say I have hope for you, but right now I have no words.