The Loyal Opposition
Struggling with the Church on Homosexuality
edited by Tex Sample and Amy E. DeLong
This is a book review, and personal reflection, I presented as a requirement for an evangelism class in my seminary program. Having been raised in a fundamentalist environment that was every bit as legalistic and judgmental, if not more so, as the “anti-gay” factions of the United Methodist Church, I have been searching for ways to articulate my own evolving convictions, and give a clearer voice to my conscience which can no longer abide what I have come to see as the pharisaical stance toward homosexuals that is still maintained by so many within my own faith community, and which is completely antithetical and even subversive to the Gospel. This stance, which I believe the arguments in The Loyal Opposition prove has no scriptural or theological foundation, is harming our witness to the world as the church universal. And more than that, it is harming our family--the one body of Christ--by dividing it, as we “bite and devour one another.” While this book was written specifically to United Methodists, intending specific application toward “loyal opposition” in a UMC context, this is a discussion the whole church needs to have, across denominational boundaries, if we are to be relevant and authentic witnesses to our culture to the present reign of Christ in our midst.
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Tami Jelinek is a part-time senior care giving coordinator and full-time seminarian, currently working toward her Master of Divinity degree. Tami and her husband of twenty-eight years, Keith, reside in Auburn Hills, Michigan. They have three grown children. Tami’s personal passion is theology: the knowledge and experience of the Truth and Mercy found only in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and displayed in the lives and communion of His people. Exploring portraits of Christ and His kingdom in the Old Testament is the primary focus of her studies. Tami and Keith enjoy traveling, and love to fill their home with friends and family who share their fondness for good food, good wine, and great conversation.
If one recognizes and affirms the reality of same-gender orientation as ‘natural’ to that person’s being--as I think we have no other option if we follow our theological guidelines faithfully--then to reject a ‘natural’ expression of that orientation in a covenantal, responsible, faithful and loving relationship is fundamentally immoral. It is tantamount to denying that person’s right and responsibility to be his or her true self.
--E. Dale Dunlap