There are three angles - according to my current thinking - from which the 'homosexual discussion' needs to be approached. They are ideological, pastoral and pragmatic. The latter two will be dealt with in later posts.
Ideologically, we are all asking the questions, "What is true? What is right? What does God want and expect from us?" In the Methodist Church of Southern Africa I am pretty sure that we are all asking that question as a starting point. However, in some extreme approaches to this issue there are those who say, "This is what I believe to be right and I cannot accept a God who does not think as I do."
Traditionally, we in the MCSA, hold to the Bible as our basis for the understanding of our faith and the source of answers to our questions. The problem is that the Bible, like statistics, can be used to support pretty much anything, depending on how it is interpreted (remember apartheid). My feeling is that gradually the consensus has subliminally become that the only honest interpretation of the Bible is that God is not in favour of homosexual practices (I know that there are those who will disagree with this). Because of this consensus one ideological position becomes that we cannot rely on the Bible as being in any sense the 'inerrant word of God' and it should be used with caution as should any historical text.
So, the two sides to the story are, 'God is not in favour of homosexual practices, as can be seen in the Bible, and they should not be condoned by the church,' and, 'God is ultimately a God of love and inclusion and if the Bible implies otherwise . . . (I'm not sure what), but he cannot possibly be offended by the homosexual practices of his beloved.'
And it is not an easy call to make between the two positions. For me, the problem is that if the Bible is rejected as my basis for faith, I don't know where to turn. I don't believe that I can trust my intuition (God-led or otherwise). I'm not sure about the community of faith as the source of wisdom. So where to turn? Ideologically, even though I can't fully understand how it fits together I need to accept the Bible as a sound source of wisdom, when read in an intelligent straight-forward way.