Our denomination's Council of Bishops has written this letter to the church. You can read the whole thing by clicking here. In the letter, they write, "While pastors have the responsibility to discern readiness for membership, homosexuality is not a barrier." And they quote our Social Principles, saying, "We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends." Of course, they are responding to this week's Judicial Council decision regarding Rev. Ed Johnson of South Hill UMC in Virginia.
There is a lot of blog chatter about this letter: some bloggers have criticized it; some have supported it; some have just posted it and let it be.
Thing is, my grandfather is a bishop. Monk Bryan, retired from the Nebraska conference and living now in Dallas and in Lake Junaluska, is my grandfather. When I read a letter from the bishops of my church, I am reading a letter from Daddy Monk. The man who loves nothing more than saddling a horse for a ride through the mountains. The man who has a fondness for peaches and vanilla ice cream. The man who taught me that a job is not done until the tools are cleaned and put away. The man who loves to hear me play hymns on the old piano in his living room. The man who loves the church of Jesus Christ more than anyone I have ever known.
Life is not a series of issues to be argued over until someone wins and someone loses. Life is people connecting to people, valuing one another, growing closer to God and neighbor, getting to know the faces of strangers. Sure, the Council of Bishops is a group of the most powerful, respected leaders of our denomination. But it is also Daddy Monk. And Fritz. And Ann. And Robert. And ...
Just a bunch of folks like us.