Statement of Support for United Methodist Rev. Frank Schaefer

Norman, Okla. – Earlier this week, our sister Wesleyan denomination, The United Methodist Church (UMC), held a church trial to decide the future of Rev. Frank Schaefer for officiating at his gay son’s wedding. He was suspended for 30 days after which he will be defrocked if he does not fully intend to obey all of the Book of Discipline for the UMC.

During these times of growing polarization between believers, we need to acknowledge that the Church, is hurting, broken and in need of the redeeming work of Christ. We find healing and reconciliation when we share the broken body and shed blood of Jesus. Christ has set the table and invited all to partake. How do should we respond when a person or group of people feel as if they are lesser at the same table? We should respond in love. Love for his son caused Rev. Schaefer to act and love calls us, the Body of Christ, to act by erasing the superficial lines that divide us (e.g. social economic status, cultural bias, gender or sexual orientation). Love does not discriminate. Love does not play favorites. Love will not only win, it will prevail.

Nazarene Ally applauds the efforts of allies, such as Rev. Schaefer, who not only preaches love, but also puts it into practice. His words and deeds are the embodiment of Christ bringing about the Kingdom. We thanks those in our sister organization, Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), for their efforts to expose this trial and verdict for what it is, but also provide a model for how a denomination can move forward as more RMN communities are being added daily. Nazarene Ally again calls upon the Church of the Nazarene to look into ways that bring about reconciliation between LGBTQ Nazarenes, and the Nazarene Church.

Our prayers are with Rev. Schaefer, and his family during this period of reflection that they will not lose hope during this difficult time. We also pray for our counterparts in the RMN and the UMC, that through the broken body and shed blood, we can all come to the Table and find reconciliation.


5 thoughts on “Statement of Support for United Methodist Rev. Frank Schaefer

  1. Wow! That was an incredible post Ty. Are you sure that you don’t belong behind a church pulpit? You are already preaching better than a whole bunch of Nazarene preachers. Keep up the good work.

  2. @ Daryl Densford………Oh no you really don’t get it. Like author, Gordon Allport, states in his book: “The Nature of Prejudice,” “People who have never suffered discrimination can’t really understand it. To them it is just an abstract theory.” Obviously you have never had your heart broken nor had your faith tested. I don’t have the answers to many of life’s mysteries and complex situations, however I have discovered that a lot of the “rote” and simple “pat” answers given by the untrained Nazarene clergy, simply do not fit. Most Nazarene clergy have never graduated from post graduate seminary, and if they have, most of their seminary degrees came from Nazarene Theological Seminary. What a joke. Have you discovered how Nazarene institutions of learning have always controlled and censored any facts/information which does not agree with their sacred doctrines. Also notice how exclusive and sectarian the Nazarene church behaves. The Nazarene attitude has also been one of holiness superiority and exclusiveness. Why do you think that Nazarenes have never cared to fellowship and support other Christian ministries. And you believe that you copuld get a “true” university education from one of their institutions?

    Every time the word: “abominations” is used in the Bible, it is used in reference or context of heathen idol worship. The Canaanites worshipped the pagan gods of fertility through temple prostitution in the pagan temples. Thus they implored the fertility gods to bless the cycles of their crops and the reproduction of their cattle. The Jews or “God’s chosen people” were to abstain from many abominations associated with the Canaanites as the Hebrew people were not to inter-marry nor take on any practices of pagan peoples.: “Thou shalt not cross breed thy cattle, it is an abomination. Thou shalt not wear clothes of a mixed fiber, it is an abomination. Thous shalt not eat fish of the shell, nor meat of the split hoof (pork), it is an abomination. Thou shalt not know thy wife during her menstruation, it is an abomination. Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with woman, it is an abomination. If a rebellious child resists correction, take him outside the city and stone him to death.” Daryl, this part of scripture known as the “holiness code,” has no contextual application for people born with a homosexual orientation. Too bad your “Hill Billie” ministers never graduated from seminary nor can they read the Bible in it’s original Hebrew and Greek. I dare say Daryl, that you have a faith which was handed to you by your untrained minister. After you have had your heart broken, you will seek a faith which can be stretched and grown. A faith with real meaning, a faith you call your own, comes from wrestling with that faith.

    I was denied housing in 1983 simply because I was born a Gay person. I was discriminated against in employment 3 times in my long career simply because i was born a Gay person. A school teacher friend of mine had the word “(f)(a)(g)(g)(o)(t)” spray painted across his garage doors simply because he was born Gay. My friend, Kenny Cummings was murdered in Houston simply because he was born Gay. When his killer was interviewed in prison, he said he killed Kenny because the Bible says that Gay people are evil and an abomination. Too bad he didn’t know that every time the word “abominations” is used in scripture, it is referring to the pagan nations like the Canaanites. Billy Jack Gaither was murdered in Alabama simply because he was born a Gay person. Nicolas West was murdered in Tyler, Texas simply because he was born a Gay person. We will never forget them. Our blood cries from the ground, and evidently God has heard since there has been an avalanche of justice rolling our way recently. Evidently you were born in the 90-95% straight population. You are a privileged citizen enjoying the benefits, affirmations, and protections of scociety. We gay people pay taxes too. No taxation without representation. Sorry this post was so long, but when you have to deconstruct myths perpetuated on a minority for hundreds of years, it can’t be done with neat little “sound bytes.”

    1. As a white straight American, what discrimination have you faced Daryl? Specifically what discrimination have you faced from the policies of the US government that have disenfranchised you, or what church policies have effected your ability to participate in the life and leadership of your local church as an equal member of the Body of Christ?

    2. @Ty McC: I never said I’ve been discriminated against, though —while having no similarity to being homosexual— I grew up (as a white person) in a very black neighborhood and certainly felt it.

      As for something that does relate closely to homosexuality, in answer to your question about church policies that affected my ability to participate in the life and leadership of the church–was when I was living in sin. The difference is, I could understand why they wouldn’t want me working with youth (or anyone else) while living in sin and not being repentant.

    3. Daryl Densford, thanks for sharing your perspective. For me, one’s baptismal vows of pledging full alliance to Christ supersede the vows of ministry that one may make to a particular ordaining body. Such full obedience to Christ allows Jesus to truly mediate every relationship we enter, whether in the covenant of marriage, or with a religious institution for service to the world. Unfortunately, the history of the church involves the removal of literally thousands of ministers from their congregations for bold stances against colonialism, slavery, segregation, and the subjugation of women to name only a few. [May I add that these bold stances were made against denominational bodies who cited Bible verses to defend their unintended oppression of these minority groups.] We now consider such religious oppression that condoned colonialism, slavery, and the subjugation of women obsolete for our current conversations regarding the dignity of human beings. May we all seek to be half as bold as Rev. Schaefer.

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