Dallas Pastor Bucks Methodist Church, Says He Will Perform Same-Sex Weddings

Categories: Religion

NorthavenChurch.jpg
northaven.org
The United Methodist Church, much like the state of Texas, does not approve of gay marriage -- or, for that matter, of any divergence from the Adam & Eve model of human sexuality set down in Genesis.

The UMC's official rulebook says that "sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage" and that homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian teaching."

Northaven United Methodist Church, the giant white spaceship on Preston Road in North Dallas (where, full disclosure, my parents go to church), has long been a dissenter on this front. Decades ago, it bucked tradition and began welcoming openly gay members, not in the denomination-approved "love the sinner, hate the sin" manner but by declaring that homosexual relationships are perfectly acceptable in the eyes of God, and it's long been a progressive outlier on matters of civil rights and social justice.

So, it wasn't entirely a surprise when retired pastor Bill McElvaney announced at Northaven on Sunday that he will buck church law and officiate at same-sex weddings, or that the congregation greeted the news with a standing ovation.

Eric Folkerth, Northaven's current pastor, has not yet followed his predecessor's lead in defying the church, nor is he quite ready to let same-sex weddings take place at his church (two nearby congregations -- MIdway Hills Christian Church and Central Congregational Church -- have agreed to play host for McElvaney.) The UMC has proved itself more than willing to punish those who stray from the official line, recently defrocking a pastor who presided at the wedding of his gay son. For McElvaney, in the twilight of his career, the move carries little professional risk.

But in a blog post, Folkerth leaves no doubt that he fully endorses same-sex marriage. He goes so far as to label the dictate that same-sex marriage ceremonies can't take place in UMC churches "insidious, and frankly, evil."

When McElvaney will find occasion to officiate a same-sex wedding is unclear, though Folkerth speculates the first nuptials could go to Jack Evans and George Harris, Northaven members who recently celebrated their 53rd anniversary together.

Folkerth argues that McElvaney's pronouncement trancends the arcane, intra-denominational scuffle that will inevitably follow. It nudges the notion of gay marriage a bit further into the mainstream, closer to inevitable, widespread acceptance. And that, he argues, is completely in line with biblical teaching.

"God wants the Church of Jesus Christ to embrace same sex marriage," he writes.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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43 comments
steve_mcreynolds
steve_mcreynolds

Nobody HAS to have sex. Many people choose to go without it for their entire lifetime or for many years. If you have feelings toward the same sex, why not make them your friend, and not your lover? God does love everyone so much. But Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, "Go, and sin no more" (John 8:11). The point is that God loves but also loves us enough to teach us how to live a happy and fulfilled life. We sometimes don't understand what that looks like, but does the one Who created us know more than we? Yes.

OK, you tell me what to believe.  In writing to believers in Jesus Christ in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 20, the Apostle Paul writes, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (i.e., effeminate by perversion), nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God..For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."


Since we've all been alive the textual historical evidence that supports that this passage, and for that matter, most of the New Testament, has been increasing, not declining. There are other passages that are analogous to this one, also. Don't say we don't have to listen to Paul. Peter endorsed Paul and his teaching (2 Peter 3:14-18). Jesus Himself appeared personally to Paul and told him what to teach (Galations 1:11-24). It doesn't matter what some person who comes along and says about this issue. We should take our signal from the Bible, if you're a Christian. If not, then you wouldn't care about that. If you want to say this text doesn't belong in the Bible, let's hear the textual evidence to support that? What manuscripts do you point to that omit the passage? By the way, what's your favorite Bible verse? What evidence do you have that your favorite verse is authentic and shouldn't be thrown out. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you don't know what you're talking about.

wontunow
wontunow

retired pastor Bill McElvany.

i want some attention.

i want some attention.

i want prez Obummer to like me.

Wa Wa Wah.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

The IRS should look into this - because when the church takes a stand against it's own belief system, it's no longer a religious organization, but rather a political one.
What they're trying to achieve is noble, but it's not religious- it's political.  They should be taxed accordingly.


AdamsonScott
AdamsonScott

I stopped caring long ago about the thought processes of people who believe in imaginary beings who supposedly talk to them through "prayer".  If I'm going to have a nutjob like that solemnize my commitment ceremony, I might as well pick a Pastafarian.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

The only church worth a damn is that one on hwy 80 in mesquite whose fancy eletronic bill board states "we strive to be a 100% tithing church"  - not we fed 30 homeless last month - its give us your fucking 10% - honesty if painted dollar signs on the cross I might actually attend

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

This snake oil con man sees that gay dollar flowing to the Unity church and figures he needs a new jet ski, so why the hell not? swing for the fences

dc005
dc005

after 53 years together,   since JFK was President,  as over half of all marriages last under eight years, with over half of all children born to unmarried women,   if they want to be married,  God Bless Them!


I doubt they're gonna do much harm to the "institution",  as some claim their god insists.


Not even a scintilla as much harm as unmarried mothers and good-best divorces.

Catbird
Catbird

The United Methodist Church...John Wesley would be so very proud.

Guesty
Guesty

http://www.rmnetwork.org/Eric,


You shouldn't write about stuff you don't understand, are unwilling to investigate with an open mind, and to which you are openly hostile.  It doesn't serve any purpose.  It seems issues regarding organized religion just are not in your wheelhouse for this reason.  


The Methodist Church is for the most part equally split on issues regarding the LGBT community.  Though it is not as progressive as it should be, it is not nearly as regressive as you suggest.  You choose to focus only on the first-half of what is a very complicated issue.


The official position of the United Methodist Church, without your selective editing, is as follows:


“The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us.  We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.”


At various times, the church has taken several steps in favor of LGBT rights.  For example, the United Methodist General Conference stated that the U.S. military should not exclude persons from service solely on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, calling don't ask/don't tell “discriminatory, unethical and regrettable.”  In a similar vein, the Church's official position also includes:


"Certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation. We see a clear issue of simple justice in protecting the rightful claims where people have shared material resources, pensions, guardian relationships, mutual powers of attorney, and other such lawful claims typically attendant to contractual relationships that involve shared contributions, responsibilities, and liabilities, and equal protection before the law. Moreover, we support efforts to stop violence and other forms of coercion against all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.”


And don't think that the blessing of same-sex marriage is novel within the church.  For example, almost 100 Methodist ministers signed a pledge to conduct same-sex marriage in Minnesota in 2011.  


There are entire organizations within the Methodist Church advocating for more progressive policies within the church and fighting for LGBT rights in society at large. For example:


The Reconciling Ministries Network (http://www.rmnetwork.org/)

Affirmation: United Methodist

Methodist Federation for Social Action





Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

If you liked it, then you should have put a cockring on it

If you liked it, then you shoulda put a cockring on it

Don't be mad once you see that he want it

If you liked it, then you shoulda put a cockring on it

Oh, oh,, oh, oh, oh, oh.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Why do people stay members of an organization that they obviously disagree with fundamentally and obviously doesn't want them as members?


I'm serious, I don't get why people do these things.  You support gay marriage.  Fine.  The Methodist Church does not.  Why keep calling yourself Methodist then?  

JackJett
JackJett

Love the sinner/Hate the Sin


Adam & Eve NOT Adam & Steve


FIRST!!!!!   (Does anyone do that anymore?)

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Defrocking sounds downright homoerotic.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Well, if God says so....

jidun
jidun

@bvckvs It's not a church that is doing this, but the former pastor (an individual) so the IRS rules concerning religious organizations wouldn't apply.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@AdamsonScott

Linguinian?  Or Rotinian?  A wrong answer could cost you your sole.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@paulpsycho78 Just think, if he's defrocked by the UMC, he's free to go start up his own non-denom empire and he'll have all the support and sympathy of a martyr.

jidun
jidun

@everlastingphelps For the same reason that there are pro-abortionists that still keep calling themselves Catholic.  

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@everlastingphelps

A serious answer to that serious question - for the same reason that smokers jog, diabetics eat candy, anti-government psychos vote.

They WANT to do the right thing, they just weren't raised to know right from wrong. 
The exception to that is clinical psychopaths, whose brain structure won't allow them to make a distinction.  The difference is that you can teach a psychopath what is right and what is wrong - and they'll integrate it into their thinking so that they can get along in the world... if they were raised to understand the value of getting along in the world.
Religious zealots, junkies and sociopaths don't have that virtue.  Even when taught the difference, their default state is to do the wrong thing..


Guesty
Guesty

@everlastingphelps Phelps, you don't seem to understand the history and teaching of the Methodist Church.  It is not an organization that opposes dissent from within or that views religious teachings as fixed.  The Methodist Church will almost certainly approve same-sex marriage within the next decade.  It almost reversed course a year ago and the momentum within the church is decidedly one direction.  

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@jidun@bvckvs
He's acting in his capacity as an officer of the corporation - so this is a corporate activity, not an individual one.

That's why the Catholic church had to pay for damages done by pedophile priests - because they were not just acting as individual pedophiles, they were acting as officers of the corporation.
The Catholics argued as you are, that priests are individual contractors, not part of the corporation, but that argument fell flat.

jidun
jidun

@Guesty @everlastingphelps Which is precisely one of the reasons why I left the United Methodist Church.  They are compromising God's principles for the purpose of appeasing the world, and are more interested in pleasing men than pleasing God.  

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@mavdog @everlastingphelps Yeah, it makes sense for groups that you are forced into (like, geographically based governments.)  It makes sense for voluntary groups that you have minor disagreements with.  It makes no sense for voluntary groups that you have major, fundamental disagreements with.


It's about as inane as me becoming a Democrat to make them more conservative, or for me to start having gay sex so I can try to make gays more straight.

JackJett
JackJett

@plainsman1@JackJett Marriage is a shit filled condom and religious nutjobs have made it so.    I will not get over it.  I don't have to get over it.   And gay marriage will come to pass in the state of Texas and when it does.....WE WILL SHOW you what SANTITY really is.  We will show you what unconditional love is all about.  

Open your mind without fear of your brain falling out.   And stop  shitting in condoms......that is NOT what they are for.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@ericfolkerth@bvckvs

I like the way you say he has no official title, and then say what his title is.

That double-speak is much the same as the Catholic church used to try to convince the government that they shouldn't be held responsible for what their priests do.

ericfolkerth
ericfolkerth

@bvckvsIt's an interesting theory. But since Bill has no official title in the church ("Emeritus Pastor" is purely ceremonial), does not draw a salary from us, does not attend staff meetings, proving that he was/is acting as a agent of the church would be a very tall hill.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@everlastingphelps

I'm certainly not putting myself as an authority on what constitutes a Methodist, but at the same time it doesn't appear to be accurate to say that same sex marriage is the foundation, is "fundamental", to which the faith is based upon.

JackJett
JackJett

tweaking dried turds from the hairs of a cows butt. 


and a whang dang doodle all day.

plainsman1
plainsman1

@JackJett@plainsman1- Perhaps your lividity on the subject clouded your typing - I took your initial bombast as a negative comment regarding SSM.  Be assured, I agree everyone should have access to the pluses and minuses of marriage. I might add that your over-the-top prose isn't going to win any more advocates to your argument, nor are misspellings - especially when they're in CAPS.

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