The following comes from a Christian perspective to other Christians. That said, whether you are of a different faith tradition or do not ascribe to faith, I hope you will find these brief thoughts encouraging.
With great sadness, I learned that the United Methodist church has voted to uphold their institutionalized stigmatization against LGBT+ and those who affirm us.
On the same day I got these two quotes in my daily Sojourners email:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” – Isaiah 43:2
For me, the cross is about a God who is with us when we suffer in a way that only someone who has also suffered can be. – Ellen Painter Dollar
I think that perfectly sums up my feelings on the matter. While I am a Christian, I am not a Methodist so I can’t speak in much depth about the United Methodist Church and its inner-workings. But, what I can speak to is my personal opinion that big box branded Christianity has failed.
Not only has it failed, it has also become abusive. It deserves to be abandoned as many find a vibrant spiritual life once they leave those legalistic bonds, expectations, unnecessary burdens, and punishment over something that should be celebrated.
Of course, it is entirely up to the individual UMC members to decide whether to leave and start their own affirming Methodist movement or to stay in the UMC to continue the push to include God’s LGBT+ persons.
All I can say is this; institutionalized leadership cannot replace our personal connection with our Creator. “The Body of Christ” or our authentic spiritual selves, are not limited to the four walls of a church or a religious creed and policies. You are the source of light, life, and love of Christ as He, not your institutionalized appointed leaders, lives in your heart.
Where the fruit of the Spirit is, that is where you will thrive in life. There are a LOT of resources out there for LGBT+ people of faith, and we support you in any way we can. This vote hurt and we support you as you take time to heal, and to grieve.
Be bold. Be brave. Most importantly, be at peace. You are loved whether religious leaders can see that or not.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)