Petition 21032

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Human Sexuality (21032-CB-¶161.F)

Delete current ¶161.F and replace with the following:
We recognize that sexuality is God's good gift to all persons. We believe persons may be fully human only when that gift is acknowledged and affirmed by themselves, the church, and society. We call all persons to the disciplined, responsible fulfillment of themselves, others, and society in the stewardship of this gift. We also recognize our limited understanding of this complex gift and encourage the medical, theological, and social science disciplines to combine in a determined effort to understand human sexuality more completely. United Methodists, along with other Christians, have struggled to find principles for applying traditional teachings to contemporary understandings of human sexuality.  
We recognize that sexuality is part of the larger human mystery, to be received and acknowledged in grateful responsibility. We reject all sexual expressions that damage or destroy the humanity God has given us. We deplore all forms of the commercialization and exploitation of sexual relationship, with the consequent cheapening and degradation of human personality.  We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation or use of children by adults and encourage efforts to hold perpetrators legally and financially responsible.  We call for adequate protection, guidance, and counseling for children thus abused.  We believe that the Church family should support all families in providing age-appropriate education regarding sexuality to children, youth, and adults. We challenge all members of community of faith to commitment, integrity, and fidelity in their sexual relationships.  
We know that all are God's children and are of sacred worth; yet we have been, and remain, divided regarding homosexual expressions of human sexuality. Faithful, thoughtful people who have grappled with this issue deeply disagree with one another; yet all seek a faithful witness.  We continue to reason and pray together with faith and hope that the Holy Spirit will soon bring reconciling to our community of faith. The fire in our disagreements points to a deeper human mystery than we knew. We believe that the Spirit has brought our collective conscience to acknowledge this mystery more honestly, and to make our claims with greater humility before God and our neighbors. We therefore ask the Church, United Methodist and others, and the world, to refrain from judgment regarding homosexual persons and practices until the Spirit leads us to new insight. In the meantime, let us seek to welcome, know, forgive, and love one another as Christ has accepted us that God maybe glorified through everything in our lives.

Rationale

Honor the work done at past General Conferences and consider this majority report in revising The Book of Discipline, 2008, ¶161F. To affirm the majority report of the Church and Society 2 majority report to General Conference 2008 recommending the replacement of Discipline 2004 ¶ 161G (¶161F in Discipline 2008).

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