Bishop Talbert has violated the Discipline of the United Methodist Church. This book, which governs the life of the UM denomination, clearly says "ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches." Bishop Talbert celebrated a homosexual union in our UMC. Although opinions differ within the Council of Bishops, this body voted to spank the hand of Bishop Talbert for celebrating the love and commitment of two persons seen holding hands at their lawful union. Clearly, at this time, for the majority, the Discipline of the UMC trumps the grace found in our Bible. The Council of Bishops is desperate to hold our UM denomination together. For the majority, keeping Methodism intact, as we know it, means "love the sinner, hate the sin." It matters not what the overwhelming opinion may be (for 90% of those born after 1990 this is a non issue) the Council of Bishops seek to hold fast to a Book of Discipline which has institutionalized prejudice and bigotry. Not all Bishops, mind you, but the majority. Each side claims God is on their team.
I am not so sure. Who knows the mind of God? Here is what makes sense to me.... when I stand before God at judgment day there will be one question on the table. "John Flowers, did you do the will of your God?" My answer is quite simply, "I hope so God, but I must be candid, sometimes your will is not clear therefore I operate this way.... when in my life, I am confronted with a choice between law and grace, I choose grace every time." Don't know if that will get me in but it is the best I can do. The law of the United Methodist Church, maybe even the Bible if some of my conservative colleagues are correct says "NO!" I say grace trumps church law and I will stand on grace, not law.
By the way, that grace extends to those who disagree with me about celebrating same sex unions in the church.