In-Sight: For the Bride

I have come out of Lent with a heavy heart for the Church in general and my particular expression of it, The United Methodist Church.  The debate about homosexuality has reignited with great heat, enflamed by radical actions by one side and dogged resistence to those actions by the other side.  The longstanding drama has now entered another act–continuing the 40+ year plot of pain, provocation, partisanship, polarization, politicization, and (at the extremes) persecution.

I have come out of Lent convinced that the Bride of Christ is being abused. The Father of the Bride is hurting. The Son (Bridegroom) is in anguish, and the Spirit is grieving.  The Trinity is weeping.

The Bride’s gown is torn, being pulled apart by her siblings as they engage in a theological tug of war, leaving the Bride with nakedness, embarrassment and shame she was never meant to have.  And no matter what we think about it, no matter how we think it got that way, or what we think should be done—can we not at least agree to cry?

I have come out of Lent believing that now is a time for “the prayer of tears.”  Now is the time to say, “Enough is enough” and to seek a better way. We have passed the time when any Bride lover can believe that we are treating her as we should. 

I am in deep prayer about this, and I know that others are as well. Between and beyond the opposites, I believe God is beckoning Christians (siblings of the Bride) to a third way–a way that declares the traditional ways of debating the issue “worn out” (after decades of trying them). I am no longer on any “side.” I no longer believe any “side” is the way forward. We must pray and work for a new way–for the sake of the Bride.

I will write more about this each day this week. I invite you to join me–for the sake of the Bride.

(Please Note: For this brief series, I am removing the “Comment” option. On controversial matters, I often find the comment streams of social media unhelpful and sometimes distracting from the point of the primary post. I am writing this series to communicate my thoughts, not to initiate a string of points and counter points. This is a departure from my usual style, but I believe it is best for this series. I am writing a lament, not having a conversation, and certainly not wanting to create another debate)

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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