April 30, 2012

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We do not agree.

It is clear that we do not agree on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Some of us believe that converting people of other faiths to Christ is not even a worthy goal. The majority of the UMC (I think) still believes this is the most important and most worthy goal. If we can't agree on this, we are certainly not a "United" Methodist Chruch, whatever we call ourselves. Nor are we likely to end the frustration that is being expressed.

It is clear from the votes at General Conference that the UMC is moving to the right on many issues, including Biblical authority, sexual morality, and homosexual practice. With the addition of the growing African members, the growth in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, and the decline in the Western and Northeastern Jurisdictions, that is the direction of the chruch. That direction will not change in this generation. United Methodism grew by a million members last year, but guess where.

If we are ever be a "United" Methodist Church, we all have some important questions to ask ourselves.

Mike Childs more than 2 years ago

Making Apostles

I was a disciple in Sunday school. And, given our understanding of educqation as being a life lonbg endeavor, I am still a disciple.

But I had to enter the adult world. And, thanks to some wonderful Sunday School teachers and leaders at Wesley Foundation when I got to college, I realized that I also needed to be an apostle.

There's a huge difference.

Whether or not I had a lot of gifts and graces, Jesus called me to use them as a means of showing God's love. Transforming the world would take care of itself because that was God's job. Mine was to be His/Her missionary wherever I was.

I've tried to do that by helping in the church because the local church is where fellow disciples and apostles met regularly to upbuild one another. I tried to be a good worker in my various part-time and summer jobs while I was in school. I tried to be a good neighbor. I tried to help on mission projects set up by the church. I tried to do that as a student. Then I got to try it in my vocation, which happened to be as a pastor in the United Metrhodist Church. I've tried to do it by working with other churches's pastors, by leading teaching confirmands and giving them mission opportunities, by setting up local church ministries to the city's hospital, county jail, etc., by helping pastrors and laity in trouble with the denomination's administrative and judicial, and by using legislative and judicial options open to an individual to help move our denomination in directions I thought consistent with a Christian apostle's mission.

In retirement, I have had to focus declining energies and gifts, but I hope you see me hanging in there for a few more years.

Making disciples is not aiming high enough. Making apostles,turning loose God's people to be missionaries where they are and where God takes them, would be a better description of what the church actually does when it follows the Spirit.

Jerry Eckert more than 2 years ago

UMC changes

I see this transformation setting into all the denominations of our Protestant faith and it is unsettling. However, the Lord Jesus Christ is not into denominations. The world has fallen asleep and lulled into deception by the anti christ spirit and Jehovah Father will not stand by and see His word flattened and watered down. elect and true bride of Christ will know His voice and follow his Ways no matter what the world is doing. I believe we will continue to see the denominations fall apart under the gise of becoming united in one. The world is setting the stage for satan and his regime to set up the war against the saints and our Lord Jesus Christ. But we know who wins! Come Lord Jesus quickly. My husband and myself have removed our membership from the UMC and will not follow these vipers into the pit.

Brenda Barnett more than 2 years ago

Transform the world

Making disciples for the transformation of the world sounds good and seems fine for a faith-based institution. It still smacks of triumphalism and places the priority on making disciples. We live in a multi-religious contemporary world. The hope of converting the whole world to one's faith tradition is misplaced.The urgency is on transformation of the world. This can only come about not by having more disciples in one's own faith community but working together with people of other faith and non-religious faith in the work of transforming society and the world and to live in harmomy with all of God's good creation.

Yap Kim Hao more than 2 years ago

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Notable Quotes

"Each and every day, more and more LGBTQ people and our allies are coming out of a different closet — as evangelical Christians. And as more of us step out, the more we are sensing that the Spirit of God is powerfully working in our midst. The fruit that we are seeing coming from these churches, ministries and lives is abundant. We are seeing real lives saved. Faith is reborn in the hearts of many who never thought there would be a place for them at God’s table. Revival is breaking out among younger evangelicals, who are catching a glimpse of the new thing God is doing in our midst. In other words, we are seeing tremendous blessing, not wrath."

– Author and activist Brandan Robertson in a Religion News Service commentary, "I'm Queer and I'm Still Evangelical."