MARCH 1, 2019 BY ARCH KENNEDY
I may not be too popular with my views on this topic, even with some conservatives, but that is ok. This is VERY personal for me and something that I refuse to make political.
The United Methodist Church voted Tuesday to uphold and strengthen its ban on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy in a 438-384 vote. This vote reinforced a United Methodist Church policy established in 1972 which stated that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching”.
My mother suffered from rheumatoid arthritis all of her life and was completely bed-ridden with 24-hour care her last 12 years of life. I was often very angry at God for allowing a good woman to suffer basically all of her life so terribly. What did she do to deserve this? But, as I grew in my faith, I realized my faith in Christ did not mean a guaranteed “easy life”. In fact, sometimes it could be just the opposite. But, I also realized that this life is but a blip on the screen compared to an eternity with my Father in heaven afterward.
I have grappled with my sexuality and my faith all of my life. I went through a time where I left God and made my sexuality the center of my universe. Youth and hormones being the big instigator of that. But as I have gotten older and sex not being as important, I have come to a point where I ask myself, is my homosexuality my “arthritis”? In other words, maybe God made me this way to learn something. Maybe I was created to be celibate and put God first.
I refuse to make this issue political as my relationship with Christ is just that…a relationship. So many in the gay community make their sexuality the center of their universe and in doing that, lose a relationship with God. Many LGBT have left the church because of “hurt feelings” and feeling attacked. They feel God has left them. Wrong. “People” have made them feel that way. Because I won’t toe the line, I have been shunned by the liberal gay community as being a “self-loathing” gay man…a traitor.
So, where do I stand on the United Methodist Church and their strengthening ban on gay marriage and LGBT clergy? I have to say that they are perfectly entitled to do so. My sexuality does not define me so I do not look at this announcement as a stab at my being and I don’t believe they are trying to do so. The church is reinforcing their belief that marriage is between a woman and a man. Frankly, I agree. As far as LGBT clergy serving in the church, it basically goes along with the same idea that homosexuality is incompatible with Biblical teachings.
Many gay activists will continue to crucify the church for this action. I will not. Christ is first in my life and I will continue to seek Truth from my Creator.
Finally, I have two things to say to both sides of the issue.
To the gay community: it isn’t about you! It is about Christ and his love for ALL of his children. Seek Him!
To Christians: be a little kinder to LGBTQ on this topic of homosexuality. We cannot help our same-sex attraction. What we do with it is our own personal journey. Not yours. Jesus loves ALL of His children.
How very, VERY well said. Thank you so much. May GOD continue to bless you in this ministry to our gay brothers and sisters in CHRIST.
The most sane, common sense point of view I have heard in a long time. Thank you!!
Excellent perspective. Personal relationship with Christ is key. We all struggle. Many men have struggled as you have. Coming of age and experimenting with sex with other boys is common just not talked about by men after the fact. Society and media tell us it’s normal nowadays. When I grew up it was not. As a Christian, we have to make a choice. Maybe celibacy is that choice when we are lead towards what is outside God’s teachings. But we also make hard choices concerning alcohol, drugs, and many temptations ourliyas as sins. My prayers go with you. I need them daily myself. We can be forgiven of actions of our youth but they oftentimes resurface as memories that tempt us once more. Your brother in Christ. Peace be with you!
Greg Knight says
Arch, I absolutely agree with all of your comments here! I am so glad to have connected with you here on Facebook. I get excited to see more “people like,us” coming out for our first love, God has allowed us by His grace, a unique and often misunderstood journey in this life; however He has empowered us to handle it!
I am 58, and am so blessed! I was raised Baptist; however, I’m part of Christ Fellowship (now 6th largest church in US), a nondenominational church from West Palm Beach, FL.
It’s awesome being in a nonjudgmental environment that still maintains the authority of scripture. +=❤️
Know that you are loved by me, and countless others. I know the opposition well; I was very close to it many years ago. I pray for you. I would love the privilege of connecting/speaking with you sometime. Thanks for your heart & voice!! Love, Greg
There is another perspective Arch, very different from either of those mentioned. It is possible that gay people are part of God’s plan, because we are in every society at the same percent, nothing changes the fact of same sex attraction – on can neither remove it or adopt it. Think of all of the great people you know that are gay, and how their gay nature benefits those around them. Most are not involved with their own nuclear family, and thus have an incredible amount of time, energy and resources to give to other families, organizations and churches. Many gay people are superbly talented, and have the time to develop their talent and share the joy with others who need relief form the day to day.
Men in war need love and comfort, and it has not been practical for millennia for women to travel with armies. Many great caretakers have been gay, and there is no occupation that has not benefited in some way from gay dedication, talent or strength.
The UMC is welcome to think collectively and say anything they want as a body, they do not impact my life. My Mom was a methodist until my Dad took her to First Christian Disciples, where I am today. AT FCC, my church in Baton Rouge, thay accept me as I am, and our 200 member congregation cherishes the five gay couples we have among odd and ends like myself. lol
I believe that God saw fit to have me be gay for the special purpose I can fulfill in life, whatever that may be, and it turns out my drive, determination and focus fits hand in glove with male personas It is almost like God, who knows what he is doing, made me gay for a reason!. 🙂
Jacklyn Lewis says
Thank you for sharing this. Points well taken and spoken. 1st. Your mother was an absolutely lovely southern belle with all the bells and whistles. Beauty in every sense. Being from a small town we were many times sheltered from differently lifestyles. two of the best friends i have had my entire life are homosexual men and I am thankful for them in every way and it’s makes me look at them no different than i do a girl friend who is married with 2 kids. I love you Arch for your stands in a lot of views and political views. Thank you for just being you!
All I can say is God bless you! You are an inspiration to us all!
Very well said❤️❤️❤️
Kimberly Woodson Pressley says
Arch, I have loved you from the very first day you walked into my 10th grade English literature, grammar,, and composition classroom. You were so adorable, smart, well-mannered, and classy, and you still have all of these wonderful qualities today. I am so impressed by this post, honey. You truly understand how to read between the lines. I love and truly admire you, Arch! ❤️✝️
Sherrie Smith says
Arch, you have such an elegant way with words. I will never judge others based on their sexual orientation, it’s not up to me. I have had a gay nephew, lesbian niece & I accept them for who they are.
Arch, I have loved you from the moment I meant you & you have always been a very positive influence on my life. I’m very grateful & appreciative of the love. Thank you for all the meaningful ways you make a difference on twitter. I love you always! !!! ❤❤❤❤❤
Mark Falcoff says
As Andrew Sullivan puts it, “time for liberals to be a little more liberal, and Christians to be a little more Christian.”
Regina Garrard says
Nice Piece Arch!
Rick Weaver says
I have a friend on FB that has been posting nonstop on how terrible this decision is that the UMC council has made. I knew I didn’t agree with him but wasn’t able to formulate a plain concise reason. Your article helped me see why I felt as I did and confirm what I know. The church doesn’t define me and their affirmations don’t effect me, my Christianity or my relationship with God.
We love our UMC, been members for 8 years and have never been treated any different than anyone else in the congregation. After this decision Nothing has changed for us.
Thank You, for these words of wisdom from your life and your experiences. Whether or not churches wish to include or exclude people is their prerogative and hopefully, they will do so with faith and compassion. People of different lifestyles that find they are not welcome in these churches simply need to move on…….there ARE churches that will welcome them elsewhere. Please do not try to force someone to accept something they feel goes against their beliefs. This is a great nation, a huge world and there is plenty of space for ALL of us to worship as we choose and feel strongly about. God Bless you in your life, and I hope only the best for you.
Peace be with you. John 13:34
Linda H. says
hi, I’ve read the article and these comments and appreciated what all of you had to say. some comments gave me new insight. like the person who said (I’m paraphrasing) that God might have made some individuals gay on purpose. I can see that now. God does not make mistakes. I learned from same person I think, that homosexuality appears in same proportions throughout the world. interesting. …
in the past, I have primarily found being around homosexuals to be grating. I have not appreciated affectations of voice or physicality. I definitely do not appreciate activistic leftist agendas ((consider checking out #walkaway and Brandon Straka)). I would much prefer that sex be kept private and behind closed doors. I feel, possibly incorrectly, that public displays are part of the targeted devolution, degradation of our society. I mean this in the same respect as abandoned grocery carts in a parking lot. we don’t seem to care that someone else will have to go out of their way to pick up where someone left off. many of our manners have gradually, cumulatively devolved. we have lost respect for others, we don’t dress with as much June Cleaver-type pride as we used to. ((to my aged mind wearing a plain, white t-shirt in public is unacceptable.))
we don’t say please or thank you that much anymore. our societal norms are collapsing. some cover their bodies and even faces with tattoos often intended to irritate others. bad is good, good is bad. …
I’m sorry if I have offended you. at minimum, possibly I have caused you to view the subject from someone else’s perspective, as you have done for me
Shayn Roby says
I admire your courage. I believe every Word of Romans 1: 24-32 and I get the feeling that you do as well. I pray that you will continue to seek the will of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for this article. It’s people like yourself who allow healing to take place. I’ll pray for you my friend. I’m as heterosexual as they come, and have to seek the help of the Holy Spirit in dying to sin every day. My issue is not sexuality, but that doesn’t matter. We all sin and have to desire to grow closer to God and away from sin. Please pray for me as well that I may have the mind of Christ.
That’s IT! We all have something we need to fight to strengthen our faith. Mine was one thing yours it another: sin, addiction, chronic pain, illness, witchcraft, hate, greed, self impotence, personal loss. It’s a long list. God wants us to lean on Him so he can make us stronger, for when we are weak He is strong.
I wish more people would see, like you have, that we all have something to fight against with Jesus help. We can’t do it alone, but it can be done.
Gary Klinger says