Thursday, June 11, 2015

Prepared Remarks for Kentucky Annual Conference 2015

I didn't say all of this from the floor of conference because I was not among those recognized for the petition I wanted to speak against, but I did say some version of these remarks by the time I was recognized fifth a related petition.


David Miller, Chaplain at Union College

Bishop Davis and members of The Kentucky Conference, I would like to speak against this petition and all of the petitions before us related to human sexuality, either directly or indirectly. I speak in order to give witness to my convictions, borne by my understanding of the vows I took at my baptism and at my ordination. 

Kentucky Methodism is in my DNA. I'm a fourth-generation Kentucky Methodist.  I was introduced to God's love in Christ as a child via Kentucky Methodism.  I learned to think critically about faith, about privilege and systemic injustice, and about Wesley's Way of perfect love via Kentucky Methodism. I love Kentucky Methodism.

But I have to say that sometimes it feels like some in our conference are a bit entrenched when it comes to theology.  Even though it may feel like to some that there's only one acceptable way to look at things, there really is a diversity of opinion, of belief, and of conviction within our own conference, our own home churches, and even within our own homes. 

It seems to me that these petitions attempt to extend that entrenchment to the General level and to stifle any diversity regarding this issue. I have long been convinced that the struggle related to sexual orientation, both within our denomination and outside it, is part of a larger struggle for justice, interconnected with the struggle women and people of color are also engaged in. These petitions before us are about the use of raw, unfettered, institutional power to force one way of looking at this important issue onto everybody. What happens when we disagree on some other important issue? Do we take our pension plans and go home, or do we continue the Methodist way of holy conversation?

If you don't want to dismantle our beloved church, pension plan by pension plan, church property by church property, then vote no to all of these petitions. If you don't think it's right to force other people to outwardly conform in lockstep with a monolithic worldview, vote no.  And if you have an inclusive view of God's love that is poured out on everyone regardless of how God created us, but you just don't know whether that's acceptable within Kentucky Methodism, you are not alone; vote no.

Thank you.