It is clear to me that the current ongoing debate over homosexuality is more about the authority of the Bible than sexual orientation. Those who still feel strongly that homosexuality is sinful point to Paul and the Old Testament scriptures. To those who feel this way I have a question. If you believe this way simply because it is written in these scriptures, do you feel the same way with regards to all other teachings? There are not many United Methodists who believe women should be silent in church. Why don't we hear anyone railing against gluttony, yet the Old Testament warns against it.
From my perspective this debate about whether UM pastors can officiate gay weddings or if gay people can marry needs to be about how we view scripture. Furthermore, I observe that most Christians already give more authority to certain parts of scripture than others. I certainly do. I give more weight to the words and actions of Jesus than obscure admonitions in Leviticus. For me the authority of scripture does not rest in the words themselves. They are just words on a page. But they have power to shape and transform my life when I insert myself into the scripture, when I see myself in the biblical story. The power comes when I bring my humbled spirit to the narrative that God speaks to me and changes me!
We United Methodists are guided not only by scripture, but by tradition, reason, and experience. For me this principle really does help me discern truth in our complex world today. Obedience to scripture needs to be checked and balanced by tradition, reason, and experience.
So my two cents is that this debate needs to be re-framed because it is not about sexuality, but about the authority of the Bible.
Grace and peace,