One Church Plan Critique – Petition #3

From Wesley White’s Critique of the One Church Plan

Social Principles – Par. 161G

This is the cleanest and clearest petition in the One Church Plan. There is no attempt to carve out a place where clergy and congregations can receive permission to subvert the plain meaning of the Discipline. The other petitions all have some form of special pleading for those who “do not condone” LGBTQ+ persons as worthy of a marriage relationship or ordination.

Amend ¶ 161.G as follows:

  1. G) Human Sexuality—We affirm that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. We call everyone to responsible stewardship of this sacred gift. Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous heterosexual marriage between two adults. We deplore all forms of the commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex. We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation of children and for adequate protection, guidance, and counseling for abused children. All persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation, are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured and to be protected against violence. The Church should support the family in providing age-appropriate education regarding sexuality to children, youth, and adults. We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. All persons need the ministry of the Church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.
  • The originating heresy of nearly 50 years of aggression toward “homosexuality” is, at long last, removed.
  • Delegates need to note that language in the next-to-last line needs updating to include what is referenced in the short-hand of “LGBTQ+ persons”.
  • However, the One Church Plan does not remove every subsequent restriction that grew out of the “incompatibility” clause. That is work it leaves for subsequent General Conferences.
  • Delegates could add the petitions from the Simple Plan to those of the One Church Plan and have a more comprehensive and coherent result from the 2019 Special General Conference. But even that would not take care of the oversight that there is no acknowledgment of wrong and harm having been done since 1972.
  • My hope is that this petition will be adopted and all the rest of the One Church petitions will be defeated as they all carry the seeds of greater difficulty for General Conferences and the church at large in the years after 2019. Additional adjustments to rectify the deficiencies of the other 16 petitions will need to begin in 2020.

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