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Religion, Homosexuality and the Golden Rule

Donna’s struggle with church rules, especially those prohibiting same-sex marriage, is a major storyline in Love, Hate and Hope.

My characters and I are learning that our personal and political decisions are better when they are  guided by Christ’s message of forgiveness – which was found in the rubble of the Twin Towers – and the Golden Rule, which is at the heart of all the major faiths (as illustrated below).

Despite my disagreement with the current rules regarding homosexuality in the United Methodist Church (UMC), I remain a satisfied member and a practicing Christian.  My spirituality is enhanced by Buddhist practices and insights from others faiths.   Although one of my main characters is ultimately defrocked by the Methodists after a Martin-Luther-King style demonstration on Aldersgate Day, she repeatedly states, “I don’t know of a better way to do religion.”

Twenty years ago, I would have voted against same-sex marriage.  Now I am an advocate. My change, in large part, is due to the process suggested by the “Quadrilateral.”

wesleyan-quadrilateral
The “Wesleyan Quadrilateral” is a process that helps me make decisions, and stumble towards understanding God’s will.

I especially like using the Wesleyan Quadrilateral (Scripture, tradition, experience and reason) –  illustrated at right –  as a process for stumbling toward decisions about faith and morals.   The “scripture” I turn to includes the Bible, as well as the teachings of the Buddha and  A Course in Miracles. And I rejoice that all the great faiths , including Islam, teach the Golden Rule (see below).

Methodist church rules are revised in a General Conference every four years by clergy and lay representatives.  It’s not a perfect system, but I don’t know of a better one than the “representative democracy” it aspires towards.

Over the past few years there has been a groundswell of support to fully embrace everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, including a decision by a New York bishop to end church trials for the “offense” of performing same-sex marriages  (such as the church trial  that led to Donna’s disappearance on September 11th.)  This has grown to include two more regions  since this past May when the General Conference deferred a decision about  full acceptance of homosexuality to the Council of Bishops.

The characters in Love, Hate and Hope also struggle (as I do) to understand: How can religion and forgiveness combat fear in the age of terrorism?

My characters and I are learning that our personal and political decisions are better when they are  guided by Christ’s message of forgiveness – which was found in the rubble of the Twin Towers – and the Golden Rule, which is at the heart of all the major faiths (as illustrated below).

My characters begin to learn lessons about forgiving themselves others and God on the day Martin Luther King was murdered.  They share in the experiences I have had in meetings with Ram Dass and Swami Rama of the Himalayan Institute and studying the Christ-oriented, but universal, Course in MiraclesGolden-rule-in-major-faiths

 

 

 

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