Last week I made my first blog post in a long while (yeah, yeah, I know) about why I am ignoring the allegedly “more than eight” pastors and theologians who call for an “amicable separation” within the United Methodist Church over differences of understanding human sexuality.
This week is a new story, a new companion piece.
A statement was released today via the UM Reporter that ten retired clergy say they will officiate same-sex weddings. The group made their original statement at the UM Southwest Texas Annual Conference session and call themselves the United Methodist Clergy for Faithful Obedience. But that’s not all. They also name names. Specifically, their own:
The clergy group calls themselves United Methodist Clergy for Faithful Obedience and they are Rev. Richard T. Bates, Rev. Neal L. Baumwart, Rev. William Frisbie II, Rev. George Holcombe, Rev. Fred Kandeler, Rev. Victoria Reed Bailey, Rev. John Reynolds, Rev. Susan Sprague, Rev. Dr. Dale G. Tremper, and Rev. John Yeaman. Eight of the clergy reside in the Austin area, and Rev. Kandeler and Rev. Dr. Tremper reside in San Antonio.
You can do what you want. But here’s what I’m going to do and you might choose to follow suit. I’m going to do pay attention.
If anonymity is the specter of fear then public self-identification is the face of passion. Which will you give power?
This is a group of men and women who feel passionate about their denomination’s future and the issue of same-sex marriage. Since this group thinks ten publicly self-identified people is noteworthy, since this group thinks action must be taken, then this group has chosen to let me know who is making the declaration so I can respond. That’s how dialogue works. It’s a two-way street that helps both parties listen to each other, share with each other, maybe sit down over coffee and feel safe together.
Now that sounds like a coffee meeting I want to have.
Allegedly “more than eighty” anonymous people have shut down dialogue, not fostered it. Ten publicly self-identified people have opened the door to dialogue, and welcome it.
These ten men and women have my attention. I hope they have yours.