Dallas-area Methodists Hope to Come to Terms With LGBT Issues — Without Splitting Their Churches

The North Texas Methodists with whom I have shared church pews for most of my adult life are a hopelessly optimistic bunch. Even after more than 40 years of disagreement over human sexuality issues within America’s second-largest Protestant denomination, local Methodists are keeping the faith that a global gathering this month might finally end the energy-sucking stalemate.Debates about harsh discriminatory language, ordination of LGBT clergy and the ability for same-gender couples to wed in the Methodist Church have, for decades, squashed other conversations and impeded the denomination’s mission. Every four years, the Methodists’ decision-making General Conference convenes and -- right on schedule -- any effort to move forward on LGBT matters dissolves into bitter disagreements, showdowns and threats of splits.This was the hot topic back in the mid-1990s, when I was The Dallas Morning News' religion editor. Twenty years later, visiting local Methodist congregations in my search for a church home, I felt like I had stepped into a bad rerun. Same debate. Same lack of progress.  Continue reading...

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