the wake of the California Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex
marriage, more than 80 retired Southern California clergy from the
United Methodist Church are offering to perform same-sex marriages, the
Sacramento Bee reports. The ministers made their
agreement during the annual meeting last weekend for
the California-Nevada Conference of United Methodist Church. Meanwhile, a small United Methodist congregation in Santa Monica,
called the Church at Ocean Park, is hosting a “love celebration” this
Sunday, July 6, for couples of any sexual preference who want to marry.
The United Methodist Book of Discipline—i.e., official church
law—forbids churches and clergy, both active and retired, from
performing same-sex unions. If disciplined, the clergy could be
defrocked. However, retired clergy are much less likely to face church
The California-Pacific Conference of United
Methodism is one of the denomination’s most liberal. It is no surprise, at least to this writer, that it is also one of the fastest
declining regions, having lost about half its members over the last 40
years, while California’s population has boomed. Less than 3 percent
of the United Methodist Church in the U.S. lives in California.
These Methodist clergy are seeking to be progressive and relevant to the culture and the fast-moving changes of California law. They also appear to be "accepting" to some, I am sure. But what they are doing is making the Methodist Church, in California at least, increasingly irrelevant to the purpose that Christ has for his church in the earth. The whole thing is sad beyond words. I pray the Methodist Church, which has officially upheld its own discipline in the past, will now have the courage to apply it to these ministers. I seriously doubt that they will but I am asking God to turn hearts and minds sooner than later.