Last week, Rev. Frank Schaefer, a United Methodist minister was convicted in his church’s discipline system for officiating at a same-sex wedding. This has become routine in the mainline church. My denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has had several high profile cases like this. When Rev. Schaefer’s case was making headlines, I paid little notice, until I learned this: the wedding he went to trial for was the wedding of his own child, his son. I’m reminded of politicians like Dick Cheney who have changed their own positions on same-sex marriage, in large part because his own daughter is a lesbian. Methodists believe that tradition, experience, and reason are important when interpreting scripture. This is the so-called “Wesleyan Quadrilateral.” I can’t help but notice how strongly experience comes in to play in this case. In my experience, many who have changed their minds on this issue have done so because someone important in their life: a friend, a coworker, or a close family member comes out as gay and challenges them to confront their own beliefs about it. Seldom does someone come to change his or her mind on this issue without a very personal story. Storytelling is a powerful vehicle for change.
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