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Current Events
Thirty-three of the United Methodist Church’s 85 retired bishops have signed a statement asking the church to reconsider its policy banning gays and lesbians from becoming ministers. Retired bishop Don Ott wrote and distributed the statement along with retired bishop Sharon Rader. Ott said the idea came after he and Rader talked about having been troubled for a number of years by the policy. Ott said the denomination has lost the talents of gays and lesbians who had the gift for ministry but could not serve. He has also seen straight church leaders and seminarians who have left the denomination because their consciences would not allow them to support the policy. Ott hopes the statement that was released last week engages the church on the issue and influences next year’s General Conference, the denomination’s lawmaking body. via Some retired Methodist bishops seek policy change on gay pastors. Thoughts?

Current Events
Well, I kinda pegged this one last week… Ted Haggard’s launch party for his new St. James Church happened last week.  A few interesting observations about the first service… 1.  According to media reports, only 160 people attended the first service of this new church.  That’s with nation-wide media coverage that it was going to happen; and in a town that is nearly the evangelical mecca of the United States.  Seems like a whole bunch of people just don’t care about Ted these days.  Even an LA PR firm wasn’t able to drum up a crowd. 2.  People that were there:  a production company that was filming the whole thing for a documentary; and a gay couple (that was recruited from CraigsList), one of whom who shared what an inspiration Ted was. 3.  When asked whether he feels homosexuality is a sin, Haggard told CNN’s Joy Behar:  “Sexuality, no matter which grouping, is complex. It’s confusing and some people have healthy sexuality, other people have unhealthy sexuality. They’re on their own journeys with God. They’ve got to work that out. And what we’re going to do at St. James Church is encourage them in their process to get that settled in their life.” 4.  Here’s a bit from an article on Beliefnet: Haggard’s new church will embrace an open-door philosophy that could raise eyebrows among some evangelicals. The former evangelical icon has said he supports equal civil rights for gays and lesbians, even though he will bar openly homosexual members from leadership positions. “Democrats, Republicans, Independents and those who go to Tea Party rallies. If you are straight, gay, or bi, I want to walk through the Scriptures with you,” Haggard said at the press conference that launched the new church. “If you are black, white, Hispanic, Native American, or a confusing combination, you are welcome here. If you have a friend or family member who struggles, St. James is for you. Adulterers, ex-cons, everyone is welcome.” With the restriction on gays in leadership, Joe and Jan Narracci were left a little disappointed. “This church is making qualifications that I don’t think Jesus made,” said Joe Narracci, who with his wife counsels gay and lesbian Christians who struggle to reconcile their faith with their sexual orientation.