To The Schismatics: Put Up Or Shut Up

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Can There Really Be Compromise?

Regardless of which side you throw your weight behind in this argument, I agree with the author that there is a schism in the works. I also believe that it is inevitable. There's not a lot of room for compromise. You either think that homosexuality is a sin or you think it is righteous. I commend both sides for at least being earnest and honest in their stances. Even Jesus wanted us to either be hot or cold, right or wrong and never to settle for lukewarm. Christianity was never intended to make everyone happy. There is the world and there is the Church. You are part of one or the other. The Worldly Church is the real problem. Not this particular facet of the fight.

Christianity changes people and changes lives. Christ takes you as you are and molds you into an Ambassador of him. You can't wear his name and not follow him obediently. I take no particular stance against homosexuality versus any other sin that has become "acceptable" to the Church. Goodness gracious, look at divorce. Denominations freak out about one type of fornication while turning a blind eye to others that hit closer to home. What about living together? The Bible clearly illustrates that this is wrong as well. When is the last time that any congregation protested either of these sins?

There is a truth. On this side of Heaven, we take it on faith and through the voice of Scripture and through testing the spirit of things. God is the same yesterday and today and will be tomorrow. He nor his law changes. What matters is that once and for all, he sent His Son to die for all of us wretched sinners and that he paid a ransom for us that requires obedience. It means that people like me who battled with heterosexual promiscuity can't justify away my disobedience and make excuses or think that God will somehow wink at our sin, even though that undertone has been running through the Church much longer. But homosexuals can't do it either. It might mean that both of us have to suffer through some self-denial here on Earth, but that's part and parcel of picking up your cross and following Christ.

Times change. People change. Sentiments change. Truth does not. Relevance is not the power behind Christianity. Transformation is. Sanctification is. We are not to conform to the pattern of this world, no matter how tempting it may be and what wonders it works for our self-esteem. We are supposed to die to self, not be slaves to it.

We, like Christ, should welcome everyone into the Church, regardless of their particular "pet sin." But we are called to be transformed, not stay the way we are or slap a pretty coat of paint on top of our creeping soul decay. I love everyone. Drug addicts, gay people, cheaters, white collar criminals, murderers, thieves, you name it. Christ found them worthy to die for. Not to keep them chained in bondage, but free in Him.

But are any denominations or congregations really willing to take Christianity that far anymore?

Jennifer Gibbs more than 3 years ago

Um . . .

I'm not sure which article Jennifer read, but I do NOT believe schism is inevitable. On the contrary, my point is that the THREAT of schism has been used so long to quell any serious discussion of changing the Discipline, that with the changes in the surrounding society, it's to for those who continue to threaten to leave if the Discipline changes either to leave, or stop using it as a threat. I also do not believe "homosexuality" is "righteous". Love, Jennifer, is love. It is of God, which we learn from the Bible. Love between a man and a woman can be righteous and holy. It can be tainted with sin, a life filled with violence, resentment, and grief. The same is true for love between two men, or two women. Because we live "in between the times" as Karl Barth said, our love is filled with grace from God; it is also sinful. It is precisely the false dichotomies that continue schismatic talk. Even should some congregations leave - and I'm sure some will, but hardly in the numbers claimed - their only real difference with UM congregations that stay will be a policy continuing discrimination of sexual minorities, so I honestly don't see an advantage for them. Schism is neither inevitable nor desired. Reconciliation is not only possible, but necessary. First, however, we must stop thinking in false dichotomies and start thinking, as the great theologian T. F. Torrance wrote, in Jesus Christ.

Geoffrey more than 3 years ago

Schism

"I take no particular stance against homosexuality versus any other sin". Since you view homosexuality as a sin that sort of looks like you have taken a stance. Our BOD singles this out with specific language so Methodists clearly view this sin as different. Hard to see where this is going but as tensions build toward the next GC things will get interesting.

Kevin more than 3 years ago

Schismatics and Discipleship

A writer above wrote: "Schismatics will take nothing but their stubborn refusal to recognize that sexual minorities are fully human, full worthy of God's grace, the means of grace, and full acceptance in the life of the church." I'm one of the schismatics, having abandoned the United Methodist Church in 1984 and not looking back. I think the quotation above makes clear why I feel a distinct separation from United Methodism--and the ELCA, as another example. Christ clearly welcomes everyone, as we see in the New Testament....so do the apostles, preaching to everyone. At the same time, neither Christ nor His earliest followers suggested for a moment that the way anyone had been living his or her life was what God ultimately intended. Yes, certainly, welcome men and women with same-sex orientation--but the call to Christlikeness is a call to everyone to become like Christ--not persist in behaviors that Christ rejects. The version of United Methodism that welcomes same-sex behavior into "full acceptance in the life of the church" is unworthy of Christ.

Rich Sherry more than 3 years ago

Nothing Is Unworthy of Christ

That you could type the following sentence - "The version of United Methodism that welcomes same-sex behavior into "full acceptance in the life of the church" is unworthy of Christ." - the week after Easter makes me wonder if you were paying attention on Sunday.

Geoffrey more than 3 years ago

Writer provides support for schism

It seems, according to the writer, the traditionalist are a"burden" to the church and the reason for the lack of growth. If you get rid of these folks, a more progressive Methodist Church would surely grow and prosper. Its time for Liberal\progressives to get on board.

Steve Ray more than 3 years ago

Not a burden

I do not consider any member, group, lobby, self-confessed ideologue, or whomever a burden on the United Methodist Church. Right now, all the agitation is over this simple formula: keep the traditional language of the discipline, or some folks will leave. My guess - and it's only that but I'll stand by it - is that of those making noise, only a few will actually leave. They will stay, continue to be who and what they are, and the United Methodist Church will continue to be what it is, only now with open hearts, minds, and doors for all.

Geoffrey more than 3 years ago

Agreed

They would be much more comfortable in a fundamentalisdt body. At present all they are doing is.....<singing> "You can't stop the river as it rushes to the sea/You can try to stop the hands of time, but you know it just won't be!/And if they try to stop our Love, we'll call the HRC...." </singing> (adapted from "You Can't Stop The Beat" from "Hairspray"

George Nixon Shuler more than 3 years ago

What I want to know

He seems to imply it is antigay forces wanting schism. Is this so? Where is the evidence that is so?

My take on the "Good News" right-wing caucus within the UMC is not so much they want schism as that they want to be able to boss around those of us in favor of full inclusuon of LGBTs. If they want schism then they can't do that anymore. So, color me skeptical to the concept that is what they want right now.

George Nixon Shuler more than 3 years ago

schism

He seems confused about the meaning of schism. Those leaving do not simply walk out the door. They also take the door with them.

Kevin more than 3 years ago

No confusion

(A) Schsimatics will take nothing but their stubborn refusal to recognize that sexual minorities are fully human, full worthy of God's grace, the means of grace, and full acceptance in the life of the church. So, no, I'm not confused at all. (B) A recent report claimed 60 clergy gathered to discuss schism. My wife is a District Superintendent who has over 70 clergy under her care. So, 60 clergy talking about leaving doesn't bother me in the least. That's fewer clergy than serve one district in one small conference. (C) As I said repeatedly, this is nothing new, I'm sick and tired of it, and want them all either to go, or shut up. So, Kevin, which one of us is confused?

Geoffrey more than 3 years ago

Taking the door

Let 'em have the door, for all the good it'll do them. What part of "few folks will leave and few folks will want to join a homo-hating denomination" is unclear? You can take the property, the money, heck you can take the name. What you can't take is the ability to stop the movement of the Spirit for greater inclusion, and what that will mean for those who refuse to leave in the name of bigotry.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford more than 3 years ago

Put Up or Shut up

To refer to Christians trying to live out their lives in accordance with God's word as homo haters simply tells the world how bitter and angry you really are. You go ahead and go with that unstoppable movement. Please do not ask for financial support. Just leave. We will be right here.

Kevin more than 3 years ago

Angry?

Angry? You bet. I'm angry at decades of people insisting that some people just aren't fit to serve as pastors, to marry, to live full human lives because they happen to love differently. I make no apologies for being angry. You don't like being called a homo-hater? Then stop acting in ways that look an awful lot like you do not like sexual minorities. It's really that simple.

Geoffrey more than 3 years ago

That's just the truth

Anger at oppression is rational.

George nixon Shuler more than 3 years ago

Re: Taking the door

I don't think it's fair to characterize the the conservative wing as "homo-hating." Moreover, I don't think it is charitable to call their bluff in this way. They are brothers and sisters in the faith, and we should be able to reason together, and think the best of one another. 1 Corinthians 12:21 says, "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don’t need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don’t need you!'”

Drew McIntyre more than 3 years ago

Not Interested In Being Polite

You want me to be polite? Get folks to stop insisting that sexual minorities very existence is a threat to the church, the institution of marriage, and anything else they hold dear. I feel no interest or need to be polite to people who actively dehumanize others. Sorry if that hurts your feelings.

Geoffrey more than 3 years ago

Not interested in being polite

Geoffrey,
Don't be too hard on Drew. He thinks we are all in some sort of Methodist debate club where we are polite to each other and say things like "good point" and "well said" and at the end of the day we can all go out and share food and drink.
It is not a debate though, is it?

Kevin more than 3 years ago

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