An Open Letter from Lindsay McClanahan
I have struggled to put my thoughts into words on this one issue in my life. See at the end of February the General Conference of the United Methodist Church is going to come together and vote to determine if LGBTQ people are worthy, they will decide if they will change The Book of Discipline (the UMC rule book) to allow LGBTQ individuals to be married and become ordained in the UMC. There are a lot of smart words being tossed around but this is the gist of the meeting.
I am a United Methodist. I believe in this denomination. A small, white, clapboard church in small town Oklahoma taught me to look deeper into my faith and investigate more! Probably because of that one time I gleefully grabbed mashed potatoes at the church potluck only to realize after one bite I was eating mashed turnips!! YUCK!!! This denomination has instilled in me a servant’s heart. I could not tell you how many United Methodist Churches I have watched my dad help roof, or I helped paint, or whatever else they needed. The old hymns, apostle’s creed, and Lord’s Prayer are as much a part of me as the blood that pulses thru my veins
In my twenties this denomination welcomed a newly divorced mom with two little girls on as a Director of Children’s Ministries at an OKC metro church. That beautiful congregation baptized my daughters, loved us thru the hard stuff, let the girls come to work with me, but most importantly they grew my faith, and my leadership abilities. This denomination fostered my calling to serve God. Vacation Bible Schools, mission trips, church camps, and continuing education classes all made me a better Christian, a better mother, and a better human!
I met the love of my life at thirty-three and with that love I got to be a mom again and finally got my boys; beautiful sweet biracial boys! I honestly didn’t know what I was missing until we had these four beautiful children with three years between the oldest and the baby. During this time my focus shifted to just being a mom and we moved to the eastern part of Oklahoma and started to attend a beautiful United Methodist Church. This church automatically felt like home. This congregation loved our family and I like to think that we have contributed to the life of the church. I have been a Vacation Bible School Director multiple times, coordinated a camp for children that needed a place to go during the teacher strike in Oklahoma, helped with our youth group which my children attend, cooked numerous meals for our collegiate ministry, our children and I have attended numerous mission trips. We as a family have strived to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community and thru our local UMC.
None of these things should be a big deal except for the fact we are not the normal family unit. I am in a same sex marriage, I am a member of the LGBTQ community, our children are being raised by two moms. We attend a local church that for the most part its not a big deal. BUT there is always a BUT! Our congregation IS AMAZING! I am also aware that we are incredibly blessed to have such a loving congregation BUT if we were not already married our pastors who we love could not marry us, we could not be married in our church, and I who have been called to serve God most of my life cannot be ordained in the denomination I love. My wife and I love our family, love God, and try to do the right thing. We are by no means perfect, but it is a hard thing to only be wanted halfway.
The United Methodist Church wants mine and my children’s time. However, the way The Book of Discipline is written and the fact that LGBTQ members cannot be married in our church or become elders is basically saying they want us ONLY IF… ONLY IF we keep it behind closed doors, only if we don’t flaunt our relationships, only if we keep the pride flags out of church life. How ludicrous is this? Imagine if you will that a heterosexual couple who served their local church faithfully was told “oh sorry you can’t be married in your church we don’t like the spouse you have chosen”. We still want your time, your gifts, your service but you cannot walk down the aisle and pledge before God to love your spouse forever in your home church… A heterosexual couple would probably take their gifts and go elsewhere. So why don’t LGBTQ United Methodist take their gifts and go elsewhere? Because this denomination is home and we want to be the change. Many of us have thought if we just gave more of ourselves members would see how great we are and want the change as much as we do. This is why we want the ONE CHURCH PLAN so badly those of us who are LGBTQ or those that love LGBTQ don’t want to lose the integrity of our denomination we just want our denomination to want ALL OF US!!
I am Lindsay McClanahan an Oklahoma girl who attended Oklahoma State University and majored in Agriculture Education/Animal Science. However as much as I loved the agriculture industry God had other plans for my life that I spent most of my teen years and very early twenties running from; as a life long United Methodist I knew I was called to serve God or at least make a difference in my community from a very early age, I have spent most of my adult life working with United Methodist Churches with their children and family ministries in some capacity or another. I am a member of the LGBTQ community my wife and I live in Eastern Oklahoma. We are the proud parents of four teenagers (yes you are reading this correctly there are FOUR OF THEM). We have two boys and two girls ranging from sixteen to thirteen! Between livestock shows, sporting events and church activities we stay very busy! Our family strives to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our daily lives