Willimon on Methodist Sexuality debate. Thursday 18th August 2022 @ 10:09 am
At the last Methodist Church in Ireland conference in May, a report on human sexuality was highjacked by a small number of the most conservative evangelical grouping in our denomination. Bear in mind, the report was a stop–gap progress statement, not a debate or an attempt to change policy. Also bear in mind we are a tiny denomination that is majority conservative evangelical (as of the last census taken almost a decade ago), and has historically enjoyed more influence than it’s numbers and resources would normatively suggest. And you might come to the conclusion that fear ruled the conference floor for 30 minutes that day.
The fear from the conservative spectrum – sorry,
there was no spectrum, there was one solid organized rammer – was palpable.
Hence, my decision at the time to try and not stoke the fear, but rather look for other ways to engage … e.g., my first act after that moment on the floor of conference was to find gay friends attending conference and sit beside them in conversation and solidarity. Fear will not change hearts and minds. Neither will it give the fuel to wholeheartedly joining God in whatever God is up to in the here and now.
In the hijacking which took place, the fear of schism was mentioned most forcefully,
and until now the disquiet in my soul around that particular argument has not found feeding.
Enter Will Willimon.
There is no senior Methodist leader in the world whose presence I have enjoyed more that than this elderly winsome wise and humble man.
Here he is,
giving the words I (and many others) have been looking for, and offering a wider conversation at the table.