Just a little blog about me and mine.

Homosexuality and the UMC-Adam Hamilton Sermon February 3, 2009

Filed under: the gays,theology — Katie @ 10:01 pm

The first title of this post was “Title that Conveys How Much I Want You to Read This Post.” I’m still not sure what title would ensure that people read this post, but I know this blog is linked on a few others and you can often see the headlines, so I hope people click here. For my regular readers, I hope you check out this post, and forward it (or just the link to the video/podcast I’m about to tell you about if you don’t like my comments) to anyone who needs to hear it.

This Sunday, Rev. Adam Hamilton of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection preached about homosexuality. The last time he did that, he says hundreds of people left the church. If you’ve never heard of him or his church, it’s a 16,000–let me repeat that so you don’t think I added an extra 0 by mistake–16,000 person United Methodist Church in Kansas. He is a person of great influence in the United Methodist Church, and not just because of the size of his congregation–he’s a great preacher, leader and voice for renewal in the church.

The sermon is archived in video/podcast/mp3 form–please check it out by clicking here.

I appreciate that in the sermon he readily admits he hasn’t gotten homosexuality all figured out yet, but acknowledges his views have changed and evolved. I’m not going to comment on or critique the sermon much, except to say, wow. You may or may not agree with him. You may or may not agree with my assessment of the sermon (I bet he’s either too conservative or not conservative enough. Am I right?)

I’m happy to explain to you why I like what he’s saying so much, when obviously, as a lesbian and as a United Methodist, I want him to say much more or say things a little bit differently since I know he’s got at least 16,000 people–in Kansas!–listening to him. I want him, and everyone else, to just go ahead and hurry up and get to where I truly believe they’ll end up eventually–full inclusion of LGBT people in the church–equal rights wouldn’t be half bad either.

I’m not being presumptuous or preachy towards truly decent and loving people who simply aren’t there yet but, with some humor and grace, I’m going to spoil the ending of the story for them. They’re there. They just don’t know it yet.

You’re on the right path. We’re on the right path. How do I know? It’s all about love and the mystery of faith. Adam’s final word on the topic, as I hear it, is to open yourself to love. Love a gay child who needs you. Love your gay neighbor so that she knows her family is welcome and her kids are safe. Love God and know that God still speaks to us today. Love as Jesus loved.

You see, there’s this thing we strange Christians believe in called the Holy Spirit. It’s crazy. It’s unpredictable. And it moves wherever there is a need for love, an openness to love, or a plea for healing. It changes us and makes us to do things we didn’t think were possible. Like loving and understanding when we once only feared and hated–that applies to us gay folks too, lest you think we don’t need to learn to listen to the spirit telling us to give people a chance to love us before we assume they don’t.

The ever precocious Scout, in To Kill a Mockingbird says, “There’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” I think Scout and Jesus would see eye to eye–loving the woman at the well, loving Boo Radley, loving me. My house–you know, the house where those two women moved in together down the street–is full of the same joy and pain and laughter and love and working of the Spirit (probably a bit more folk music and flannel though) as yours.


Thanks, Del Martin August 28, 2008

Filed under: the gays — Katie @ 4:07 pm

Del Martin, 87, died Wednesday.  She and her partner of 55 years, Phyllis Lyon, were the first couple to be legally married in California this year.  In 1955 she and Lyon were among the founders of The Daughers of Bilitis, a pioneering lesbian-rights organization. 

I’ve made an attempt to learn about gay and lesbian history, and about the amazing men and women who made the world a better place to live.  I’m not a brave person, and certainly wouldn’t have been in 1955, so thanks Del Martin.


Pastors defy UM officials to conduct gay weddings July 17, 2008

Filed under: in the news,the gays — Katie @ 2:33 pm

From today’s LA Times:

“Scores of United Methodist Church ministers in California are putting their careers on the line in an open revolt against religious edicts that forbid them to conduct weddings for gay and lesbian couples.

The pastors could lose their jobs and clerical credentials in the church, the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination.

Ministers in Santa Monica, Claremont [editor’s note-Claremont, duh], Walnut Creek and other cities have already performed ceremonies for gays and lesbians or are planning to do so.

In addition, 82 retired pastors in Northern California signed a resolution in June offering to perform such weddings on behalf of ministers who feel they can’t do so themselves.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

UMC Clergy choosing to break church laws is serious business in my opinion, and I’ve heard many differing opinions on when and where and why it should be done from seminary and clergy friends.  Clergy risk their pension, insurance, job, and ordination.  One of the most articulate stances I’ve heard yet justifying presiding at same-sex unions was the stance of, “I’m their pastor.  They’re getting married.  It’s my job and calling to be there for that.”  (That person wasn’t ordained at the time and is now, but hopefully that hasn’t changed their mind). 

Foundry UMC in DC made news in Christian Century a few months back for their announcement that they will be pastorally available to recognize and honor committed same-sex commitments of its church members, but not in a way that violates the UMC’s law prohibiting “ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions.” When I sent an email to a friend who was on their staff, saying “Well, what exactly are you doing then?” I was told, “It walks like a duck and talks like a duck.”  Priceless. 


What I like about what’s happening in CA is that they have strengthin numbers.  It’s possible, but not likely, to bring charges against a ton of effective clergy (in a part of the country where the church struggles anyway) and spends tons of the church’s money doing so, but there’s too many of them to do that without crippling the conference.  And those feisty retired ministers–don’t mess with them!


H&R Block Apologizes to The Gays

Filed under: finances,the gays — Katie @ 12:50 pm

We gay folks in Georgia don’t have any domestic partnership or civil union benefits, but for couples in states that do, H&R Block is offering $100 coupons or free Tax Cut software to say “I’m sorry” to gay couples who were locked out of their online tax software this year.  H&R Block will also offer (after the ACLU got involved) free online support for folks in civil unions to figure out the hot mess of filing state taxes together but still filing federal taxes separately. 

The fine print:  the coupon only is valid if you went to one of H&R Block’s retail offices and paid for their help after the software said it couldn’t process your return.  Nice. 

It does remind me though that most people (gay or straight) don’t really realize how much it sucks to have laws that don’t allow gay folks (and those crazy hippy straight folks who live together and don’t get married) to file taxes together.  If all finances are shared jointly, filing individual taxes is one of the biggest hassles ever.  And taxes are enough of a hassle.  The PL and I bought a house in 2007 (joint tenancy, with right of survivorship–don’t do it any other way..and get a will dammit!).  No one cares if we own the house as equal partners, but since we can’t file taxes together, who gets to claim the sweet deductions from the interest? 

The answer is that the interest can be split up on your tax return in any manner you wish, but not exceeding 100%.  So, we had to try our taxes in the software in many many configurations to figure out what would work best.  Not the best use of our time. 

Problems to consider: 

1.  I have a fatty (at least for a 28 year old) investment portfolio just in my name–not to be greedy but to keep PL from having to pay taxes on the money too.  Generally, taxes aren’t withheld from dividends and capital gains so I end up owing money to the feds for the time that I sit on my ass and let Steve Jobs make me rich, and let Coca-Cola ruin my future with bad advertising. 

2.  PL only worked part of that calendar year, so she had a small income.  Showing she paid more than she earned for our down payment and interest would look sketchy at best.  I’m not sure of the legality but I’m a worrier and don’t like to get in trouble. 

3.  We made charitable contributions from our joint checking, but bascially they were individual donations so any thank you materials usually just had one name on it.   

4.  I moved money from my individual account to our joint account, so PL could then move it to her own individual account and open a Roth IRA (got all that?).  She can’t deduct that contribution from taxes this year, but won’t pay taxes when it is withdrawn.  I have a Traditional IRA now so I get the tax benefits now, but will pay taxes when I pull the money out.  So, we figured having both kinds or IRA’s in the family, albeit in different names, would be a good plan. 

God Bless America!