Thoughts and Comments


What's to prevent us? | Rev. Dr. Keith D. Ray II and Stanton Adams
What is to prevent me from being baptized?” asked the Ethiopian eunuch after hearing the good news of Jesus from Philip in Acts 8. The answer, of course, was plenty. There was plenty to keep the Ethiopian eunuch from baptism and Philip knew it. Read more

An Easter prayer for inclusive and reconciling United Methodists | Rev. Meg Wilkes
Creator of all glorious life we know and understand, and of all glorious life we do not know or understand, we come before you in this season of promise mystified and satisfied in your goodness and grace. Read more

RMSC speaks to GC2016 delegation about LGBT inclusion | Rev. Meg Wilkes
On March 13, many “reconciling” United Methodists from around South Carolina attended an open meeting of the conference’s delegates to the 2016 General Conference. As stated to the delegates, the purpose for attending the meeting was to be a presence of support and prayer... Read more

May incompatibility rest in peace: Part 2 | Rev. Dr. Tom A. Summers
As seen in last month’s Part 1, the 12 days of the 1972 General Conference of The United Methodist Church were impacted by its denominational transitions and an era of critical social upheavals. Read more

May incompatibility rest in peace: Part 1 | Rev. Dr. Tom A. Summers
Remaining as a constant burden around the neck of the United Methodist Church, its General Conference’s decision in 1972 that the “practice” of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching” continues to radiate its polarizing influence. Read more

Stop narrowly interpreting Bible re: homosexuality | Dr. Michael L. Vandiver
The Rev. Warren Ashmore is to be commended for his recent guest editorial, in which he shared very personal and insightful theological reasons for asking all United Methodists to support changes in church policy and doctrine. Read more

The Imperial Delegation | Rev. Warren Ashmore
In June of this year, our Annual Conference meeting in Florence elected clergy and laity to represent us at the General Conference in 2016. Isn’t that what we did? Did you know they don’t have to hear from us or be in contact with us... Read more

Fling wide the doors: A response to colleagues regarding LGBTQ persons | Rev. Keith D. Ray II
The 2015 session of the South Carolina Annual Conference will include discussion of a resolution proposed for General Conference that is being put forth to voice support for removal of language in The Book of Discipline stating that we, as a denomination, do not “condone the practice of homosexuality... Read more

Prayer for Annual Conference | Rev. Elizabeth Murray
Loving God, you who formed us in our mother’s womb and who knew us before we were born, have mercy on us. We are a broken people, striving to understand your will for our lives. We come to you, as the Body of Christ, struggling to understand one another. Read more

Embrace the Gospel of love | Rev. John Culp
It is evil to abuse persons, to hurt a person’s dignity and sense of worth, and not even realize we are doing it. Growing up in South Carolina, racism was accepted and the black person was looked at as inferior and degraded... Read more

The sky is falling! Really? | Rev. Warren Ashmore
Laity and clergy alike have quietly been wondering what would happen when the issue finally went public: What to do about the church’s stance on homosexuals? While the Discipline uses the word ‘homosexual,’ I believe the issue encompasses all people in the LGBTQ community. Read more

It's our biblical responsibility | Sidney Gatch
Sitting in a New York City airport terminal, I listened as my daughter told me through tears that her cousin had come out to her the night before as being a lesbian. Read more

Was It Something I Said? Why The UMC Is Afraid To Hear From Queer People | Methodists in New Directions
The Feb/Mar/April 2015 edition of the Circuit Rider magazine is entitled “Sacred Trust and the Divide over Same-Gender Marriage” and purports to offer “thoughtful reflection and holy conversation”... Read more

A personal perspective on the LGBTQ debate | Rev. Clayton Childers
For me the debate over the inclusion of LGBTQ members is personal. When I hear the arguments presented, I see faces, I remember stories, I recall the pain expressed by so many people who are gay... Read more

Time to dance? Just for a while | Rev. Dr. Keith D. Ray II
Those who advocate for full inclusion of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) persons within the life and ministry of The United Methodist Church were celebrating June 24 when the Rev. Frank Schaefer’s clergy credentials were reinstated... Read more

On trial: The United Methodist Church and dissenters | Rev. Dr. Keith D. Ray II
My beloved United Methodist Church is in the news quite a lot these days. CNN, MSBNC, FOX News, USA Today. We are everywhere. Sadly, it’s not because of our relief efforts in the Philippines or the growth of our church amongst Millennials. We are in the news because of our church trials. Read more

May Justice Like a River | Rev. Wiley B. Cooper, Rev. Dr. Carl D. Evans, Rev. Dr. John D. Evans, Rev. Kenneth W. Prill, and Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Summers, S.C. United Methodist clergy members of Openings, and Julia Prater and Michael W. Haigler, co-chairs of Openings
In light of the controversy surrounding a United Methodist bishop’s prophetically conducting a ceremony that celebrated the marriage of a same-gender couple and other similar issues about homosexuality... Read more

Bishop's Statement on Illinois Marriage Equality Bill | United Methodist Bishop Sally Dyck
Today the new General Assembly of the State of Illinois is expected to discuss and soon vote on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. It is expected that it will pass into law. I want to express my views on it and my support of it as law. Read more

The Book of Discipline's Statement on Homosexuality | United Methodist Bishop L. Jonathan Holston et al
A recent Advocate article concerning one of our congregations offers an opportunity to clarify what The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church (2012 edition) says about human sexuality. Read more

How Will We Change Our Minds? | Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell
In imitation of Martin Luther, the Christian Century magazine some years ago resumed a series, "How My Mind Has Changed." In the series the magazine asks theologians "to reflect on their own struggles... Read more

On Religious Freedom and Referendum 74 | United Methodist Bishop Grant Hagiya
As your Bishop, I am called to serve and lead churches with faithful people who too often stake out their respective corners in the big tent we call United Methodism. Read more

Affirmation Letter to the Council of Bishops | Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns
Dear Bishops: We write you as congregants of United Methodist Churches and fellow servants of the Good News of Jesus Christ. This letter is to inform you that the Council of Affirmation... Read more

Former pastor speaks on homosexuality and the UMC | Emily Cooper
Despite being removed as a pastor of The United Methodist Church, Jimmy Creech stays in the denomination because, if he left, he would lose the opportunity to effect change. Read more

Warm Heart and Social Holiness | Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Summers
Dean Jan Love and the Candler School of Theology family, at this occasion I am so deeply reminded of those lines from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets: We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Read more

Bullying and the Church | Leland G. Spencer IV
Like many who follow this blog, I was excited to read about the success of folks in the Tennessee Conference, where an anti-bullying resolution was adopted that specifically included references to sexual orientation and gender identity. There are many thoughts swirling in my head and heart. Read more

A Post-Mortem of GC 2012 | United Methodist Bishop Robert Hashibata
This is my post mortem for General Conference 2012. I had to take a week to let everything settle in my soul. Kind of like a mourning period, I guess. Read more

Posters of the Day | Love Prevails
The following posters were originally posted in the General Conference section of Love Prevails during the 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church... Read more

S.C. needs more like Summers | Harriet Hancock
Joyce Martin recklessly and wrongly accuses the Rev. Dr. Tom Summers of false prophecy in her Feb. 16 letter, “False prophets are among us.” Tom’s interest in religious advocacy for the gay community was kindled when he was asked to conduct the funeral of a young man who died of AIDS... Read more

A Pastoral Letter on the Occasion of the Signing of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill | United Methodist Bishop Grant Hagiya
Difficult letters, like difficult conversations are never easy. However, God never promised us easy, and there are times when we must take up the cross and walk in faith. I write today not representing the United Methodist Church... Read more

Want more people in your church? | Methodists in New Directions
It turns out that inclusiveness is attractive and helps churches grow. Prejudice and discrimination, not so much. That’s the lesson learned by one congregation in Ohio... Read more

Conversation with Bishop Melvin Talbert, Retired | Rev. Janet Edwards
Bishop Talbert is a retired bishop of the United Methodist Church. He is a proud African- American who is a product of the civil rights and Black power movements, which means he is proud of how God created him to claim his heritage as a person of color. Read more

Mainstream Christians Must Stand Up to the Religious Right | Wayne Besen
In August, fundamentalist preacher Dr. Michael Brown organized a regimen of red shirted Bible-thumpers to infiltrate Charlotte’s gay pride event. Hundreds of zealots confronted and harassed festival attendees... Read more

Formative Distortion: Does God Really Hate the Gays? | Christopher Donaldson
Who decides what’s right or wrong? We all know the Bible appraises self-worth according to strict sets of laws and hierarchies: Go to Hell if you covet the neighbor’s house, kill the neighbor, or take off with the neighbor’s wife. Read more

Should we end the ban on gay clergy? Yes | Rev. Thomas A. Summers
The bishops’ statement that urges removal of the ban on the ordination of homosexual clergy in the United Methodist Church represents no less than a resounding and prophetic call for justice. Read more

An indecent religion | Neal Jones, Tom Summers and Carl Evans
Thousands of straight and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from across South Carolina and the Southeast celebrated SC Pride Day on Sept. 4 in downtown Columbia. It was a joyful celebration of the diversity of the human family... Read more

Homosexuality and the Bible | Rev. Wiley B. Cooper
Some dear friends of mine have two young grandchildren. One is already a “boy’s boy” – football, cars, rough play, fascinated with hunting and scantily-clad pictures of women. The other, asked what he’s going to be when he grows up, says... Read more