from “Anthem”, by Leonard Cohen

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Hopefully, this blog will become a forum for compassionate responses to the seemingly unending feud within the United Methodist Church around the issues of homosexuality.

As life would have it, I now have a “front row seat” to this strange, tragic drama.

On July 8, 2013 I received a registered letter from my bishop.
He wrote that he had “received a written, signed formal complaint” against me.

The complaint is based on a sentence I had written in a previous letter, widely circulated, but addressed to Bishop Webb, in which I state -

“I have officiated at several weddings
 for brothers and sisters
who are lesbian or gay.”

The bishop’s letter to me continued,

“Engaging in this practice is in contradiction
to the 2012 Book of Discipline
paragraph, 2702”

And so, this blog intends to share, report, and reflect something of my own journey as I grapple with the structures of the United Methodist Church. I hope it will be as helpful for those of you who log on here, as I expect it will be cathartic for me to write here.

On August 1, 2013, I travel to Syracuse to meet with Bishop Webb and the one who submitted a charge against me at 2:00 pm. The purpose of our meeting will be to discover if a course of reconciliation can be found.

If no resolution can be found, Bishop Webb will either dismiss the charge or submit the case to the next level of judicial authority.

I am as ready and prepared as I can be for our initial meeting next week.

I will tell you (on this blog) what happens then. As long as my case is relevant, I will continue to report about it with as much transparency as possible.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

One more thing.

Some have suggested that my ventures with Bishop Webb and the Rev. Richard Barton (who brought the complaint) are reminiscent of the battle between David and Goliath.

I suppose they mean to cast me in the role of David, the underdog.
 (I don't think I have to tell you who gets to play Goliath!)

I believe they are trying to say -

                      "Stay strong. Trust God.  Don't be afraid.
                       Speak truth to power until the powerful fall.
                       You never know what God can do, . . . and so on"
I truly appreciate their support.
They mean well.

Yet, they miss the deeper truth.
My real adversary is not one of the others in the room.
We are all on the same side - all of us seeking justice,
                all of us seeking God's direction.

Our struggle is truly not with each other, but rather with Goliath itself - those spiritual forces of evil which rule over all of us, undermine the authority of God's Spirit, and create havoc in our midst - 

                and when it comes to understanding homosexuality,
   those dark powers condemn our beloved community
           to a perpetual state of duplicity,
                helplessness, and fear.

Regardless what happens with Webb, Barton, Heiss and company, until we find a way to end Goliath's reign in our hearts and the hearts of our beloved community, Goliath will continue to undo us.