Her timing may not have been accidental. At the time she came out PBS was filing a documentary about the changes going on at First United Methodist. More interesting she gives an impassioned defense of not leaving, that is non schismatic views (which in today's protestantism are sorely needed):
When I came out to my parents in 1990, I did not expect them to understand right away. There were tears. There was pain. It was hard. We needed therapy. But I never considered applying for a transfer to another family.The Stroud trial was a much more clear cut case than the Dammann trial for the United Methodists. Dammann had attempted (and was successful) by winning on technicalities. Dammann combined two of the defenses mentioned earlier:
- Dammann attacked certain aspects of the polity that was charging her, essentially a contest jurisdiction defense
- Dammann refused to self incriminate on the issue of genital sexual content with her partner and the prosecution had no evidence that Dammann was actually having lesbian sex. This is a picture perfect example of the force a more specific charge defense
Another thing I have found unique about her is that she (though I imagine she's reject this term) an active apologist (in the sense of apologetics) for the Methodist denomination and Wesleyan thinking in particular. If you read Irene's personal information page what you find is classic defense that Prima scriptura rather than Sola Scriptura is what creates the particular appeal to United Methods for Homosexuals. That is because of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral Methodists are able to have a more nuanced view.
As background Sola Scriptura was Luther's view. It is the assertion that the Bible as God's written word is self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous) to the rational reader, its own interpreter ("Scripture interprets Scripture"), and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine.
Conversely Prima scriptura is a doctrine that says canonized scripture is "first" or "above all" sources of divine revelation. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral asserts that a believer should be guided by 4 factors
- Scripture - the Holy Bible (Old and New Testaments)
- Tradition - the two millennia history of the Christian Church
- Reason - rational thinking and sensible interpretation
- Experience - a Christian's personal and communal journey in Christ
Stroud continues to speak and her: Loving a broken church addresses the issue of membership for those people hurt by her conviction. (United Methods are willing to support homosexuals as members).
Stroud says on her website, I wish the General Conference would realize that Christ came for all people.