Dear Bishop Johnson,
Thank you for your quick reply and continued prayers. I am grateful for those prayers and your leadership in our denomination.
I must disagree with your statement that, “Sometimes our social justice and our holiness emphasis are in conflict…” It is my understanding that John Wesley would have understood no such dualistic conflict in the application of holiness in our lives. Wesley clearly taught that oppression, in any form, stood in opposition to holiness, both social and personal. Wesley’s words, “The gospel of Christ knows of no religion, but social; no holiness but social holiness” ring loud in this charge to keep we have.
From your reply I understand your role, that you do not make decisions on who is approved by the ordination process; however, you do have final authority on whether someone will be appointed once they are ordained. You also have the power to bring clergy to trial if accusations are brought before you.
Therefore, before I continue in the ordination process in the faith tradition I love and has shaped me, I have a few direct questions. Will you appoint ordained elders, deacons, or licensed pastors who openly perform same-gender marriage in Maryland and Delaware, where marriage equality is legal? I also ask, will you continue to allow ordained or licensed clergy brought before you, for performing such ceremonies, to face ecclesial trials for living out your own admonition of “speaking up for [our] LGBT brothers and sisters” by laboring in “protecting the rights of all people” by performing marriage legally and equally in the Peninsula Delaware Annual Conference? Will you as Bishop continue to stand behind, and for, unjust laws that promote hate and discrimination in our Book of Discipline or will you live out other duties assigned to you in Paragraph 403.1a,b,c,d as an “appointed officer of the church”?
I will send a new letter directly to the Wilmington District Committee on Ministry (DCoM) on whether they will allow me to continue in the ordination candidate process, understanding fully my position on marriage equality and my clear intentions to ignore and stand in “Biblical Obedience” against legalized discrimination in the Book of Discipline (Paragraph 304.3, Paragraph 341.6).
Thank you again for your continue prayers for my journey, mine are with you and our denomination as we continue our journey in holiness toward justice.
Pax et Bonum
Asa David Coulson
October 18, 2013 ~ The Feast of Saint Luke, the Evangelist