We conservatives/evangelicals live in the same world the liberals/progressives do. We wrestle with the same ambiguities. We know and love people who don't conform to our preferred lifestyles. We want to be as generous and loving toward every human being as we can possibly be. We are not the sex police.
Why, then, despite all the "holy conferencing," can't we agree together? Because "agreement" in this case means wrapping our tongues around saying things we sincerely believe are not true. It means not just cutting people a break, showing them grace, but baptizing their sin and saying it isn't a sin any more. And while, weary as I am, I might be willing to do that just to buy some peace, it's not up to me. I don't have the authority to do that. General Conference doesn't have the authority to do that. And so we slog on, defending our post, even without hope of relief, because we've been set here to do so.
Yes, we all sin. And no sin is worse than any other. But while we can all forgive those who lapse into this sin or that sin, even more than once, only the gay rights folk want us to redefine sin so as to say one sin out of all the others isn't a sin at all, but a blessing from God. That's as bad, and as deformed in its values, as saying that one sin out of all the list is worse than any others (which is what they accuse us of). No sin is worse than any other. No sin is better than any other.
Calvin Coolidge came home from church one Sunday. His wife had stayed home because she was ill. "What did the preacher preach about this morning?" she asked. "Sin," he replied. "What did he say about it?" she asked. "He was against it," said Silent Cal.
We're supposed to be against sin. That doesn't mean we're against sinners; after all, "sinners" means us, too. And while I'm willing to take people as I find them and do not lecture them about their lifestyles (such action would be as rude as the behavior of the protesters in Tampa), when I stand in the pulpit of God, I am bound to the truth. I have only one book to preach from, and it says that this is a sin. No amount of clever handling of the text can get it to say that it's not a sin. And the whole history of the Church, and Judaism before that, says that it's a sin. Not a worse sin than the others, and certainly not a better sin than the others, just a sin. And, as I hope to be saved from my sins, so I am under obligation to call things by their right names, even as I tell people that Jesus can take away our sins.
No matter how many times you make me sit in a circle and do "holy conferencing," I am under orders from God not to say what you want me to say. So, could you just beat me bloody and get it over with, please? And then we'll go on to something else.