The Beauty in Dissenting

Something ugly happened last week. 

The United Methodist Church, my church, at a global meeting, took an exclusive stance against those identifying as LGBTQ and their allies. The judgmental and punitive words spoken at the conference cut deeply and hurt many while sending the unholy message that some people do not belong.

This was the headline. But in looking deeper, beyond the very real grievous and disheartening decision, I found hope and beauty.

While the majority vote ruled, 48% of the delegates disagreed (in fact the margin was only 54 votes) with the plan's directives against the LGBTQ community. This clearly shows that nearly half of the worldwide Methodists want to be inclusive. In the United States, there is an even larger majority of UMC congregants who believe God's love is for all people.

The Bishops of the Western Jurisdiction, covering all of Western US including Alaska and Hawaii, released this video to affirm their commitment to diversity among the body of the church and invite everyone, from traditionalists to progressives, to sit at the table of reconciliation and transformation.

And my local church, Bozeman UMC, held meaningful worship services and a Q&A session to inform on and embrace the tension. My pastors asked a parishioner who had attended the global meeting to share his heartbreaking story to give a name and face to the pain while we lifted him up in prayer.

Then we were given a chance to dissent publicly by signing a statement to be published as an ad in our town's paper. The line for the document was deep with fellowship, compassion, and Christian love. I felt a swell of healing energy as I added my name with the others. The doorway between heaven and earth was opened wide.

In the face of institutional injustice, can you find the beauty? Will you stand by the marginalized in love and support and give your dissenting voice?

Some doorways from this week:

  • Last month I wrote about letting go of an event I had hosted at my school for several years. Last week, three of my former colleagues surprised me by putting on the event instead! It felt so beautiful to be remembered and honored in this way!

  • The weather has been awful recently, with near constant snowfall, and I had to take Riley for her checkup after her scary weekend in the hospital. I was grateful for the safety and protection I felt while driving during whiteout conditions.
  • I had heard a strange noise upstairs, and with a mischievous puppy in the house, that's never a good sign. However, I felt joyous relief and couldn't help but laugh when I discovered that Riley had been playing with a roll of paper towels.


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