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The Divided Church

Recently the United Methodist Church divided over the issue of homosexuality with the conservatives of the church forming their own denomination: The Global Methodist Church”. This issue hits close to home because 11 years ago my “husband” realized “he” was a “she”. For the next 8 years she examined what this realization meant for her. Three years ago, she transitioned fully and now lives full-time as her female authentic self

We met when I was 13 and got married when I was 18 – 34 years ago. She was a very manly man: Republican, NRA member, hunter. She was also extremely homophobic. I realized something was going on when she couldn’t even be in the same room if the show “Will and Grace” was on the tv. At the time, I thought she must be gay because NO ONE is THAT homophobic, but we were best friends, so I stuck by her.

She finally realized it wasn’t the homosexuality of the show that upset her, it was that the character Jack was effeminate and happy. She wanted to be that comfortable in her own skin. It took a lot of time and soul-searching, but she now is happy, too.

A lot of people were surprised we stayed married, but I saw how she changed. How she stopped being angry and bitter. How she became more loving and accepting of others. I loved her, not how she defined herself.

We spent years in an evangelical church but left to go to a more accepting UMC. When the UMC underwent this divisiveness, she lost faith in the church. I can’t get her to come back because she’s convinced she won’t be accepted.

These are real people who feel rejected by God because they are rejected by His “followers”. They don’t feel loved because they are told people “hate the sin but love the sinner”. They feel judged and condemned.

And where does that leave me? I married a man. Do I divorce her? Or do I stay with her according to my vows. Can I serve? Do I want her to be unhappy and bitter? Or do I want her happy and loving? How do I convince her to turn to a God when so many tell her that God has rejected her?

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