Idol Chatter

One of Beliefnet’s news stories this weekened was about Emily Saliers, a lesbian who is one-half of the singing group The Indigo Girls. She was invited to be a speaker at the United Methodist Women’s Assembly this past weekend in Anaheim, Calif.

I think the most important issue isn’t about homosexuality, celebrity, culture, religion, or Methodists. I think it’s about how many of us strongly believe in something like “love the sinner, hate the sin,” as our expression of Christian love. As a phrase, it summarizes the kind of love Jesus expressed and modeled as well as what many of us long to humbly and non-judgmentally live out in our own lives. The problem is that we also must form associations, contracts, commitments, governances, companies, and other entities that must draw real boundaries and stand for real convictions.

There are a significant number of women in the United Methodist Church who were glad she was on the speaking program because they believe the church should be more open and inclusive regarding the homosexual lifestyle. There are also many in the denomination who believe homosexuality should not be condoned in any way by the church and wanted her disinvited. There are still others who don’t have a strong opinion either way as much as they don’t think this kind of controversy is what the annual renewal conference is supposed to be about. Still others love the media attention it has drawn to the event because this is obviously a current and debated issue in the church.

The question of homosexuality and the church’s treatment of both the issue and the people struggling with it is certainly a significant one. Inclusiveness is a value, as is church interpretation of doctrinal purity, which on this issue says the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. The church also stands strong in its commitment to “social witness against the coercion and marginalization of former homosexuals.”

I think it’s easier said than done, as is most anything that is truly spiritual.

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