When I started writing this series of posts I thought that through a pragmatic approach we might find enough common ground that people could agree about 'what to do with the homosexual debate'. From what I have seen (mostly outside of this blog) I now think that this is unlikely!
We approach the debate from the ideological aspect, the pastoral and also in addition (thanks to commentators) the personal. We are aware of militance and sensationalism. The pragmatic approach needs to take all of this into account as well as issues that are purely pragmatic.
From a pragmatic point of view the church has had to deal with the issue of divorce and remarriage. Whatever the ideological point of view, there were and are many hurting people trapped in marriages that one just couldn't blame them for ending. The church doesn't help by closing its eyes and saying 'divorce is wrong'. It is like a doctor refusing to treat an accident patient by saying 'you shouldn't have been driving so fast'. Society has delivered the church a problem in terms of its inability to keep people in happy marriages. There are similarities in this to the homosexual debate. Society has presented the church with a problem. There are people in homosexual relationships. Does it help to just say 'homosexual acts are wrong'? Or for that matter to just say 'homosexual acts are ok'?
Secondly, there are clearly people that are more disposed towards homosexuality than others. This needs to be acknowledged.
Thirdly, there are many 'sorts' of homosexuals as has been pointed out in the comments. Some homosexual (as heterosexual) behaviour is 'not ok' (even if you accept homosexual sex as ok). Sleeping around, brutality, concomitant use of drugs and so on. Some homosexual behaviour is due to past pain and hurts and can be 'healed' - the person becomes heterosexual.
I am struggling at this point to keep myself as a sort of neutral party. I want to present things in a neutral way - a bit because I am scared - but mostly so that we can have a facilitated discussion, rather than a war (and thank you to all who have contributed). But let me open myself to fire by saying that I believe the Methodist Church in SA has reached a fairly pragmatic position, where it is now. To the ideologist who wants things tied to the Bible it is too wishy-washy. To the one who feels passionately for the rights of homosexual people it is limiting and offensive. The position, however, takes both the Bible and homosexual issues seriously and recognises that they should not be treated simplistically.
I would like to see a thought out theology/praxis position in favour of allowing homosexual clergy to enter civil unions that deals with all the issues raised in this series of posts. Simply because it would take the argument out of the ideology realm (I'm right and you're wrong). But I will leave that for those who feel strongly about this position!