The next issue of DisciplesWorld (Jan/Feb) deals with glbt persons in ministry.  It promises to be an interesting issue. We’ve tried to portray the controversies fairly, but also to get beyond them to what holds us together as church.

On that topic, this morning I came across something of interest from Rev. Russ Whaley, a United Methodist pastor who wrote an opinion piece for United Methodist News Service.

With its General Conference coming up in April, in the same location where the Disciples had our General Assembly last summer, the UMs (or at least some faction) are apparently pushing the idea of barring non-heterosexuals from membership. So much for Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors. 

My guess is that a survey of rank-and-file Methodists and Disciples would produce a similar range of opinions. What I’m finding kind of remarkable is the impact of church structure and governance on how we deal with this and other controversial issues. Frustrating as it may be for us Disciples, sometimes, to not have a heirarchical structure or a collection of written rules like the Methodists’ Book of Discipline, we can never get far from having to reckon (and reconcile) with one another. 

And that has made all the difference.