Future UM News Index
In a sudden development yesterday, January 16, Ms. "L" was "wedded" to her dog "Frisco" in a beautiful ceremony performed by the Rev. Ima Gay in Zooville, Illinois. Rev. Gay, pastor of the United Methodist Church in Zooville for six years, pronounced the nuptials while the bride and "groom" stood together before a packed house.
Almost immediately voices of protest were raised from Good News and other conservative elements of the Church. Other conservative voices were warning that a split in the United Methodist Church may be imminent. Others praised the new openness of the Church. Bishop Graspue of North Illinois could not be reached for comment. Ms. Lesbie, Graspue's secretary, would make no statement without first checking with the bishop.
Bishop Redrac of the Tennessee area issued the following statement: "The bishops will uphold the Discipline as we have always tried faithfully to do."
At the same time Bishop Redrac was issuing his statement, Bishop Battler of California said that he supported Rev. Gay's decision to extend "pastoral support to all of God's creatures".
It is rumored that Bishop Savid of North Georgia may have whispered to one of his trusted cabinet members that he opposes such actions under certain conditions. There is much uncertainty about this report, but our publication has it on the best authority that Bishop Savid may indeed have said something similar to that, perhaps. Bishop Savid was not available for comment when we called his office earlier today.
Meanwhile, as the church approaches the General Conference of 2008, more voices are calling for accountability. Several resolutions have been prepared attempting to amend the Discipline of UMC to outlaw such ceremonies. At this time it is uncertain how the church will go.
Rev. Gay's district superintendent was not immediately available for comment. Other superintendents of the conference stated that they could make no comment at this time.
Other bishops were not available for comment.
Hawkeyed United Methodist News has uncovered some correspondence which took place between the Rev. Ima Gay and Bishop Graspue of Northern Illinois prior to the recent "covenant service" between a woman and her dog. Thanks to the fine work of one of our undercover reporters we are now able to disclose the conversations which led up to the recent and controversial ceremony in Zooville, Illinois.
A little over one month prior to the ceremony the following letter was sent by the Rev. Mr. Gay to his bishop.
December 7, 2006
Dear Bishop Graspue,
I am writing you because I need your pastoral help concerning a situation that has arisen in my church. A certain Ms. L., a member of our congregation here, has approached me desiring that I to do a "covenant service" for her. Seems she wants to be married to her dog. I know this seems a little bizarre, but she is serious, and I am not sure what I should do. I've always heard that a dog is "man's (or woman's) best friend". But should I "bless" this "union"? I have investigated this matter, and I have found out that a small percentage of persons (about .1%) are oriented toward animals. Now I am not sure if they choose this or if they are born that way, but I am certain that Ms. L. is sincere and truly loves her dog.
Well, I didn't know what to do. So first I looked in the Bible. Of course, I found a passage in Leviticus which condemns such practice, but as we all know now, that was written during a different culture back when they didn't know as much about these "orientations" as we do now. Then I checked to see if Jesus said anything about it. He didn't, so I figured it must not be too bad, or He certainly would have condemned it. The rest of the New Testament is silent on it too, so I figured, "I must be on solid Biblical ground to go ahead with this ceremony."
Then I asked myself, "Will this hurt anyone else?" I knew that is an important question. So I decided to have "counseling" with Ms. L. and the dog (Frisco). Frisco, of course, couldn't tell me how he felt about it, but I swear, he seems to love Ms. L. a bunch! I would guess that he will be more loyal to a covenant than most humans are. So I figured he was satisfied with the arrangement. Of course, some of Ms. L.'s relatives think she's really a couple items short of a creed, but I don't figure this will really hurt them in any way.
Well, Bishop Graspue, what I did was this...I tried to remember all the reasons we eventually accepted homosexuality, and then I applied each one to this situation.
- Ms. L. and Frisco seem very committed to one another.
- When properly understood, the Bible doesn't condemn it (not nearly as much as it condemns homosexual behavior).
- It won't really hurt anyone else.
- Some people seem to be oriented toward animals and can't help it.
- It seems to fulfil a deep need in Ms. L.'s life, and it is our pastoral duty to meet the pastoral needs of our congregation.
As you can see, I am inclined toward doing this ceremony. Fortunately for me, there are no prohibitions in our current Book of Discipline, so I know that I will not be accused of breaking any church laws. However, I do have some nagging uneasy feelings about it all, and would like to get your final approval before I proceed with this "wedding."
Sincerely your servant,
Pastor Ima Gay
Hawkeyed United Methodist News Service
One of our undercover reporters was able to obtain a copy of a letter sent by Bishop Graspue to Pastor Ima Gay in response to Pastor Gay's request to do a 'union' ceremony for a lady and her dog.
December 12, 2006
Dear Brother Gay,
I received your recent correspondence inquiring into my recommendation concerning a possible covenant service between Ms. L. and her dog.
First of all, let me say how pleased I am to have fine sensitive pastors like yourself who are willing to be on the cutting edge of ministry. Too many individuals like Ms. L. have felt rejected by the church. God loves everybody, and we ought to do the same. I am proud that you are willing to reach out to those whose needs have not been met by the church in the past.
Please keep this confidential, but I wanted you to know that I did two similar covenant services myself when I was pastoring in the South DePravity Church down in Pleasuresville, IL. Both were private ceremonies, since at the time we felt it best not to advertise. Each was a memorable experience for me, especially the one that I conducted in a horse barn.
I am not going to tell you to procede with your planned service. Nor will I forbid it. I simply encourage you to follow your heart. I would suggest, however, that in your pre-marital counseling, you impress upon Ms. L and Frisco the importance of faithfulness to one another.
Also remember this. There are still quite a few of those narrow fundamentalist types in the church. You can certainly expect an outpouring of their anger and hate if you choose to go ahead with this. These hypocritical bigots have pestered me ever since I entered the ministry. For years they inflicted pain upon the homosexuals, and my guess is, they'll do the same with the animal lovers.
One more thing. I hope you will wait until after Christmas before you do this. I realize that Christmas is all about animals-- you know, the shepherds and their sheep, the wise men on the camels, Mary on the donkey, and all that, but I think it would be best to wait until January or February. We wouldn't want to get any controversies going at Christmas time. It would just take all the fun out of Christmas. (We have several Christmas parties planned up this way, and, well, you know...everyone would be pestering me about your wedding there in Zooville, and I wouldn't be able to enjoy the festivities.)
I'll keep you in my prayers.
The Council on Bishops went ahead with their scheduled meeting in Pittsburgh this week, in spite of the controversy that is currently brewing within the United Methodist Church over the recent "covenant service" performed by the Rev. Ima Gay between a Ms. "L" and her dog "Frisco" (see related story in last week's edition). After brief discussions about the current problems, the Bishops have gone forward with their original agenda: to formulate a policy regarding the endangered bacteria in third world countries.
After three days of intense discussion, the bishops emerged early this morning with a document entitled: "The Bishops' Initiative to Save the Endangered Bacteria in Third World Countries."
While protesters outside the Pittsburgh meeting hall were calling for some statement concerning bestiality, the bishops methodically, and sometimes emotionally, hammered out a directive to be implemented in United Methodist Churches all across the country.
Among other things, the initiative calls upon all UM churches to study the interconnectness of all God's creatures in the great circle of life. "There is a great need for all God's children to understand that if any link in the great life chain is broken, then all of life suffers," stated Bishop Judith Graci.
The second Sunday of January will be set aside each year for special offerings to be used toward bacterial research to be done at the Rwandan Medical Research Hospital in Africa. The bishops expressed the hope that hundreds of thousands of dollars could be raised for this great new mission of the United Methodist Church.
"All life is sacred to God", states the opening paragraph of the Initiative. "Just because that life is invisible to the naked eye does not mean it is not sacred, nor does it mean that it should not be protected."
Recent technological advances in third world countries such as bacterial-fighting sera used to prevent diseases have endangered a number of infectious bacteriae that once existed prolifically in many parts of the world. While it cannot be stated for sure what would happen if these were to disappear entirely, it was the consensus of the bishops that it could bring unforeseen devastating effects upon the entire chain of life.
In a brief discussion at the beginning of the council meeting, the bishops voted to table the issue of "bestiality" until emotions cooled down on the subject. Bishop Battler of California expressed the general consensus of the Council when he said, "The issue of animal/human covenant services is one that has sincere Christians on both sides of the issue. We must be open to God's leading on this since the idea of a committed, monogamous, animal/human covenants is a new idea that was not known in Bible days. We must study, pray, and seek to learn together as we walk down this path."
Hawkeyed United Methodist News Service
January 24, 2007
Ms. L. and Frisco, the woman/dog couple recently wedded in a ceremony conducted by the Rev. Ima Gay, have returned from a week-long honeymoon in the Virgin Islands. According to an observer, Ms. L. and Frisco exited their plane in Chicago accompanied by Rev. Jim I. Gentle, a leader in the Transforming movement which recently expanded its ministries to include those involved in animal relationships. About 30 protesters were at the airport with signs which read, "ANIMAL LOVERS WILL BURN FOREVER!". The angry protesters were held at a safe distance by airport security.
In other news, a group of United Methodist Bishops and prominent clergy met in St. Louis yesterday to discuss the effects of the ongoing revival movements across the country. Many leaders of the denomination have expressed concerns that revivals in Pensacola, FL., and Smithton, MO., could be having a negative effect upon the mainline churches. Both of these revivals have been going on since the 1990's. So far the leaders of the meeting have revealed no details about their discussions or conclusions.
Bishop Wed of the Phoenix Area has left for Africa to observe first-hand the research being done at the Rwandan Medical Research Hospital. Bishop Wed volunteered for the trip after the bishops announced their Initiative on Saving Endangered Bacteria in Third World Countries. Bishop Wed will stop over in Paris for 2 days of R & R before proceding to Africa.
The General Board of Church and Society has issued a statement in support of a bill recently passed by Congress. This legislation entitled, "The Deed of Mercy Act" permits physicians in approved hospitals to give lethal injections to babies born with irreparable malformations or irreversible diseases. Physicians will not be permitted, however, to perform this act without the permission of the parent(s). The statement for the GBCS states in part that, "it is unconscionable to force parents to raise a child with severe deformities, and it is also best for the child."
The Deed of Mercy Act covers babies up to 3 weeks old.
The "Apostles' Creed Commission" is meeting for the second time in Los Angeles this week. The last General Conference formed the commission in order to see if the Apostles' Creed could be altered to make it more palatable to today's scientific community. John Nonsob, chairperson of the commission stated their intentions, "We want to keep the essential parts of the creed, while at the same time recognizing that the modern world can no longer accept much of the pre-scientific language of the creed." So far, the commission has not been able to agree on several points. Their final draft will be presented to the General Conference of 2008 for consideration of the whole church. If approved, the new creed would become a central part of the new book of worship.
I found this article in Christianity Tomorrow magazine. It was a great blessing. If you have not heard the testimony of Judi Lected yet, you will no doubt enjoy this.
It was done as an interview between Judi and the editor.
CT... Judi, tell us a little about your background, a little bit about your past.
Judi... Well, Bill, I grew up around Chicago in a very disfunctional family. My dad was abusive and a heavy drinker. I can never remember him showing any affection to me or either of my sisters. Mom was always tired and sick. She worked a night shift at a cafe so she was napping a lot during the day. She also had a lot of medical problems.
CT... You say your father was abusive. Was he sexually abusive?
Judi... No, not exactly. He just had a terrible temper. He would hit mom. He would hit us. Often I had bruises where he would hit me after he'd gone into a rage. It was always for little things...spilling-your-milk kind of things.
CT... Judi, when did you first notice that you were "different" from most people. I mean, when did you first notice you were attracted to animals instead of people?
Judi... When I was five years old Mom got me a dog. It was just an old Heinz 57 kind of dog. But Smokey became my best friend. I remember one time when Dad went into one of his rages, he'd been drinking, and he started beating me with his hand because I had sat in front of the TV while he was watching wrestling. He beat me and yelled, "Get out of here, you bitch!" Those words hurt me as much as the beatings. I went to my room crying and there was Smokey. He licked my hand. I remember thinking that I loved Smokey more than any person on earth.
CT... But surely there were some adults that meant something to you.
Judi... There was one. A neighbor man. He was always inviting us to Sunday School, but we never went. He seemed very kind. Sometimes I would go over there and he would tell me a Bible story and give me a cookie that his wife had baked. But, honestly, he is the only one I can remember liking. Even later when I started school, because I was not pretty and was quite small for my age, the other kids made fun of me, and I never related well to the other children.
CT... What about your teen years?
Judi... I had a boy friend once. Or I thought I did. At least, I had a crush on a boy. He was nice to me, but then I found out he was calling me names to his friends and I was hurt again. I guess I didn't have much of a social life in school at all.
CT... How did you get involved in church?
Judi... After I moved to Zooville, I was 22 at the time. I had driven down there for a job interview. Never was very good at talking to people, but somehow I got the job, so I moved there. Like I started to say, after I moved to Zooville, I began hearing about this Methodist Church where they accept the gays and that there were a few people going there who were animal lovers. Well, I had never wanted to deal with it before, but for many years I had been wrestling with the sexual attraction I had for dogs. So, I decided to go and see what it was all about.
CT... Did you like the church?
Judi... Well it was a new experience for me. I had only been in a church about two or three times before that. I have to say everyone there was very accepting of me and I did not sense any judgmental feelings. I kinda liked the preacher, Rev. Gay. He was very accepting. He preached about how other churches were often judgmental and how they didn't love all God's children. His preaching made me feel good about myself. He had me convinced that I was born this way...that God made me this way, and that I should celebrate my attraction for animals. I went to see him to talk about it, and that's when the idea of the wedding came out. He told me it could be risky, but encouraged me to "break the moldy mold". So...we did it, although I must confess, I had some nagging doubts about it all. It was at that time that people began to call me Ms. L. The church people...they were trying to spare my identity to the media.
CT... And how did you meet Jim Gentle?
Judi... Well, as you know, when I was returning from the Virgin Islands, I had to change planes in Miami. There had been a Transforming Conference there that week and Jim Gentle was in Miami. We got on the same plane for Chicago. He recognized me. He'd seen my picture in several publications, but he didn't know my name. Said, "Aren't you Ms. L?" He was very warm and cordial...not anything like I had heard about him from some people at my church. We struck up a conversation, and before you know it, I found myself listening to what he had to say. He wasn't judgmental at all, but he did tell me the truth. As we got off the plane he invited me to attend a church in Prophetstown where he was going to be doing a service. So the next day I drove to Prophetstown and heard him speak.
CT... What did he speak about?
Judi... He was actually speaking about homosexuality, but everything he said made sense to me. I realized that it all applied to me. After it was over I went up and asked him if I could have a private audience with him. We went into a back room, and he got a Bible and began to show me about God's love and salvation. As he talked and read from the Bible, I began to cry warm tears, because I knew he was right...and for the first time I really felt God loving me. He led me in a prayer, and I really can't remember everything he prayed, but I know that Jesus came into my life in that back room...and it's been different ever since.
CT... Do you mean you have no more attraction for Frisco?
Judi... Well, Bill, this was very difficult. Of course, I love my dog. And I can't say that all my attraction for animals has vanished overnight. But I decided to give Frisco away. It was the best thing for me to do, if I was to follow Jesus, because I had to get rid of all the temptations I could. I'm going to miss Frisco, but I know it's the right thing for me to do.
CT... Where are you going to church now?
Judi... I have left the Zooville church and I am going to a little charismatic church. Also I have joined a small group of people, mostly ex-gays, who have been a great help to me. We meet and share testimonies, struggles, and pray for each other. I feel I'm getting stronger every day. My desire now is to serve Jesus the best I can for the rest of my life. Oh, and I still drive over to the Prophetstown church once in a while.
CT... Thanks, Judi. And we here at Christianity Tomorrow will keep you in our prayers, too.
Hawkeyed United Methodist News Service
January 26, 2007
The Zooville United Methodist Church has taken out ads in several local newspapers warning people not to attend a meeting in Prophetstown led by Jim I. Gentle. Mr. Gentle is part of the Transforming Movement which asserts that it is possible for homosexuals to change. The ad states in part that "the American Psychological Association has determined that change therapy is harmful for individuals." The 2004 General Conference of the United Methodist Church went on record with the APA in forbidding any of its churches to engage in "change therapy." However, several UM churches have continued to call themselves "Transforming Congregations." The church in Prophetstown is one of them.
Hawkeyed United Methodist News Service
News Flash.....February 2, 2007
Zooville UMC Hosts Special Inquiry Seminar
In response to continuing controversy over human/animal covenant services, the Zooville United Methodist Church hosted a two day event called the "Inquiry Seminar." The theme for the event was "Including All God's Creatures." The Rev. Ima Gay, pastor at Zooville, said of the seminar, "It was designed to broaden people's understanding of God's vast love for all creation. God made us all different, but He loves each of us the same. It is time to quit condemning our fellow Christians just because they are different. We should celebrate our differences."
Dr. S. R. Rutcluk was the keynote speaker for the two day conference. In his opening address Dr. Rutcluk shared the personal agony of being in a heterosexual marriage while being sexually oriented toward animals. He told about his decision to leave his wife and children and live an "open and honest life." Dr. Rutcluk now shares his life with a "beautiful and affectionate St. Bernard."
Later in the conference Rutcluk spoke about the damage that is done by those involved in "change therapy." He related personal stories of several animal lovers who had gone through transformational therapy and were emotionally and spiritually manipulated, according to Rutcluk, by "change artists." Many of these individuals now refer to themselves as "ex animal lovers." Dr. Rutcluk also predicted that Ms. Judi Lected (see related stories in past editions) would more than likely revert back to her true orientation. "You cannot cure what you are born with, any more than you can change the color of your eyes," stated Rutcluk.
Many who attended the seminar expressed deep appreciation for Dr. Rutcluk's insights. Said one observer, "I came without any pre-conceived ideas. I wanted to learn first-hand what this fuss is all about. I feel I've gained a new appreciation for my brothers and sisters who have this particular orientation. I am proud to be a member of this church that opens its doors to everyone and anyone. After all, isn't that what Christ calls us to do?"
Another attendee said, "When you hear the facts and the stories, it makes you feel sorry for all these people that the church has been condemning."
The seminar concluded with a communion service let by the Rev. Mr. Gay. Dr. Rutcluk, after receiving the sacred elements, commented, "I long for the day that I can serve the elements to Delli." Delli is Dr. Rutcluk's canine mate. These comments from Rutcluk were later called blasphemous and sacriligious by several protestors who gathered outside the church. When questioned later about his words, Rutcluk, responded, that, "God feeds the sparrows. He has a heart for all his creation. There is no legitimate reason to withhold the holy food from any of God's creatures."
Hawkeyed United Methodist News Service
News Flash.....March 7, 2007
Apostles' Creed Commission at a Stalemate!
Meeting for the third time, the Apostles' Creed Commission has come up with a stalemate again. After hours of discussion and debate the Commission, formed at the last General Conference, could find very little to agree on. The group was assigned the difficult task of reconstructing the creed in such a way that it would retain the tradition of the church while making the creed more palatable to the modern scientific world.
The first line of the creed is one of the few places where there seems to be a great deal of agreement. If adopted at General Conference it would read, "I believe in God the supreme Existence, co-eternal One with the heavens and earth."
Disagreement has attended most of the rest of the wording. Bishop R. A. Swansong of the Denver area wanted to eliminate all sexist language as it applied to Jesus Christ. Other bishops felt this was going too far. Swansong's proposal reads, "And in Jesus Christ , God's offspring, our Example, who was divinely conceived and born of Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. On the third day the resurrection event occurred." Swansong felt that the phrases concerning the ascension of Christ and the return of Christ should be omitted entirely. Other bishops felt they should be retained with a footnote explaining that the ascension is a mythological way of referring to Christ's authority, and that the return of Christ occurs every time an individual adopts Christ's way of life. The traditional phrase, "to judge the living and the dead" was deemed too harsh. All agreed it should not survive. However, Bishop Naos of Los Angeles made it clear that the UMC still believes in judgment, but "that judgment comes to us in this life as consequences of our own actions".
"I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection, and everlasting life. Amen." These words were adopted nearly unanimously by the whole commission. There were two prominent clergy who wanted to retain the words "of the body" after "the resurrection", but most agreed that the retention of those words is problematic for the modern understanding of death and spiritual life.
Meanwhile, a growing number of clergy are calling for the elimination of the creed altogether. An anonymous source was quoted as saying, "Creeds by their very nature tend to eliminate some people. The United Methodist Church is an inclusive church. Each individual should be free to follow his or her own creed without forcing that creed upon others. Our church differs from other denominations at this very point: we are open to all God's people. Our unity is not based upon creeds or dogmas but upon love, and a recognition of each person's right to believe as he or she wishes to believe."
Much of the content of Future UM News is written as satire and attempts to deal with present happenings as well as trends in the United Methodist Church. But as you follow the news releases you will see a basic truth emerging from this and that is the ageless truth that Jesus Christ can and does totally transform persons who are trapped in sin of any kind, be it sexual (fornication, adultery, homosexual, lesbian, or other defiant sexual expressions which abuse God's sacred gift of sexuality) or any of numerous other ways our sin is manifested. See how Jesus Christ touched the lives of two people trapped in the same-sex lifestyle at Same Gender Sex Lifestyles Can Be Transformed. Sometimes we too easily overlook the high price that was paid to deliver us from all sin -- take a look at Amazing Grace -- All for Us!
The above reports were given by roving reporter, Dan Tilly -- if you would like to correspond with Dan (yes, he's for real!), just click on Penelope, our letter eating toad, who is charge of our mail room -- she has it all pre-addressed and ready to go!
You may be curious as to how Dan was able to get those reports from a time period beyond ours -- while he has followed the example of bishops and district superintendents in choosing not to comment, it may be that he has hooked up with Alvin whose vehicle is able to travel in a time mode! You can see Alvin and his vehicle at Alvin and his flying machine. As I said, Dan prefers to make no comment at this time about this nor will he divulge any of his sources! But he has promised to keep us posted on exciting new developments as they unfold in the United Methodist Church of the future!
The People Called Methodist
"I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out." -– John Wesley
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
--- Isaiah 24:5 (NKJV)
It is time for You to act, O LORD, for they have regarded Your law as void. Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold! Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.
--- Psalm 119:126-128 (NKJV)
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
--- 2 Timothy 4:3,4 (NKJV)
Getting Around to Other Special UM Areas on CR's Range!
Did you get your badge that sends a "no-no" message? No? Then you need to go to where you can Order "no-no" same gender coupling union badges!
Get some to add spice to your conference, district, and local church gatherings! The look on the eyes of people, especially bishops and district superintendents, is worth much more than the cost of your investment :-)