Finishing the Journey
Questions and Answers from United Methodists of Conviction
This resource is intended to guide you through the issue of homosexuality and the church. Published by Northaven in 2000 in anticipation of that year’s United Methodist General Convention, Finishing the Journey has since been read by thousands yearning for a more inclusive church. Over the years, the booklet has continued to resonate with audiences because, unfortunately, the denomination has yet to find reconciliation on this issue. We invite you to encounter these questions and answers, written mostly by ministers and seminary scholars, as you take steps on your own journey.
Chapter 1: Why do we need to take this journey?
Rev. Kathleen Baskin
Chapter 2: Why should we care about this issue?
Rev. Paul Escamilla, Jane Marshall, Shirley W. Cooper
Chapter 3: Is homosexuality a sin?
Rev. Dr. Joerg Rieger
Chapter 4: What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
Rev. Dr. John C. Holbert
Chapter 5: What does the Bible call us, as Christians, to do on this issue?
Bishop Richard B. Wilke
Chapter 6: Why does our church doctrine say “the practice of homosexuality” is “incompatible with Christian teaching”?
Rev. John Thornburg
Chapter 7: What effect does the doctrine have on the gay men and lesbians who belong to Methodist churches?
Gerald Hastings and an anonymous seminary student
Chapter 8: When should our Christian conscience overrule the order of the church?
Rev. Dr. Joe Allen
Chapter 9: Why should the church allow ordination of gay men and lesbians?
Rev. Dr. William K. McElvaney
Chapter 10: Why should the church allow same-sex marriage?
Rev. William R. Johnson
Chapter 11: If the church makes these changes, won’t the future of the denomination be threatened?
Rev. John Thornburg
Chapter 12: How can the church heal on this issue?
Rev. Dr. Robin W. Lovin
This publication was generously underwritten by the Leggett-Wardlow Lecture Fund, which was established to encourage dialogue on fairness and justice in the United Methodist Church. Its name honors the memory of two members of the denomination, Gene Leggett and Jim Wardlow. It was conceptualized and produced by Northaven’s former pastor, John Thornburg, its former minister of Christian education, Alicia Dean, and by editor/writer Nancy Kruh, who is a member of the church.
For the Bible Tells Me So
Discussion Leader Guide
Developed by Northaven United Methodist Church, this guide is intended to give you the tools you need to generate a constructive dialogue on the sensitive topic of Christianity and homosexuality. By relying on the suggestions, along with your own experience and intuition, you can help your audience not only respond to the movie, but also to take its message into their own lives. This resource was written with the filmmakers permission, by a panel of United Methodist clergy, educators, and communicators.
This I Know
A multi-week companion study to the award-winning documentary For the Bible Tells Me So
Across the country, thousands of hearts have been changed by For the Bible Tells Me So, a powerful film on homosexuality and the church. Now, this definitive multi-week study by nationally recognized authorities provides you with even more in-depth guidance through this controversial topic.
The intent of this landmark study is to educate participants about why they should care about the issue of homosexuality and faith; invite them to talk, but not necessarily agree; and give them the tools to respond to the issue out of love, rather than fear. And as evangelical leader Brian McLaren points out in Lesson One, this issue raises many more fears than the fear of going against biblical authority. Some people may shrink from the divisiveness that homosexuality and faith has caused in churches. Some fear being criticized if they change their views. Others fear they will hurt gay people and their families by not knowing how to respond to their turmoil. The list goes on. But why should everyday Christians even care about the issue of homosexuality and faith? Why should it be so important to people who don’t have a gay family member or friend? Because no issue more than this one will determine the future of the Christian church in the United States.
But how can the issue be resolved without compromising Christian values?
According to This I Know, it can by heeding the most important Christian value of all: Jesus’ call to act out of love, not fear. More than anything else, Christ’s ministry was based on love – a selfless and sacrificial love that embraced the marginalized. Yet time and again, the actions and policies of today’s churches have been the primary societal forces that marginalize – even persecute – homosexuals.
This study asks participants to use their hearts, and some of today’s most influential Christian thinkers have contributed lessons to help point the way. This study also demands participants use their minds, and some of the country’s most respected Christian theologians have added their scholarship as trustworthy guidance. All of the contributors have donated their work to this project.
This I Know was developed as a companion study to the award-winning documentary For the Bible Tells Me So, which poignantly illustrates the human cost of fear through the stories of Christian families coping with a homosexual son or daughter. Since its release in 2007, the film has inspired a new spirit of reconciliation and understanding among thousands of viewers in theaters and in churches.
The study expands the reach of the film by offering churches a trusted curriculum to generate constructive conversation and dialogue. Together, Sunday school classes and other small groups have the opportunity to create a safe space to grapple with the issue, to share their fears, and to heed Christ’s call.
For more information on the study, to view an excerpt of the video, learn more about the presenters, endorsements, media kits and much more, please visit the This I Know website at www.thisiknowstudy.com.