Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


One of our daughters recently heard a church lady say, “We need to do more for the alphabet people.” No one knew what she meant. Finally someone figured out she was talking about LGBTQ folks.

I add “H” to that list, for Homophobic, for that is really the issue. It’s not an LGBTQ problem the church has; it’s an H problem.

With that in mind, since I now live in Indiana, I wrote the following letter to the delegates from the IN UMC [United Methodist Church] to the special called session of General Conference [legislative body for the world-wide UMC] that meets this weekend in St. Louis:

Dear General Conference Delegation:

When I grew up in Gibson County in the 1940 and 50s, I don’t think we even knew there were people who were not heterosexual. It just wasn’t talked about. The big sins were smoking, drinking, and divorce.

It wasn’t until I was the Wesley Foundation minister at INSU that I began to encounter non-heteros, whom I counseled not to make up their minds too early about their sexuality.

When our older daughter had the second of her three cancers, she had to go to the Cleveland Clinic. Her ex-husband’s gay friend [She got him in the divorce], Chris, invited her to spend two weeks recovering at his house, where he took marvelous care of her. One day, as he prepared breakfast, I asked him, only half-facetiously, to “come over to our side,” since he would be such a good husband for our Mary Beth. He said, very kindly, “You are the straightest man I know. Could you come over to our side?”

The answer was “no,” because God has not made us in such a way that we can switch sides. Chris can’t become straight any more than I can become black. And I certainly cannot become gay!

It’s the “ick” factor, not theology or scripture, that bedevils us on this issue. Being the straightest man that Chris, or anybody else, has ever known, I find the thought of homosexual activity to be totally “icky.” I also find avocadoes icky.

But that just isn’t the point, wither with non-hetero folks or avocadoes. The point is: Since God has made us as we are, then we are all welcome, in the same way, in God’s house.

Thank you for all your work, and may the peace of Christ be with you.

The Rev. Dr. John Robert McFarland, Retard {Which is how we pronounce “retired” in Gibson County.}

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