Covenant and Order vs. Liberty and Chaos



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no i won't back down

That's the name of a great Tom Petty song. "You can stand me up at the gates of hell but I won't back down." Brother, you seem to be suggesting that those who just can't accept anti gay rules, which are based on tradition, not reason, experience or Scripture (according to a consensus of Bible scholars) should stop doing civil disobedience. I can only say-forget about it. That's not gonna happen. MLK caused quite a fuss in the South but he stayed the course with civil disobedience until the US Congress changed the rules. Nothing else had worked. Likewise, the African Southern voting bloc in the UMC won't listen to science, experience or contemporary theologians or scholars, so they are being bypassed by the forces of justice. When enough people say, enough, we will change, by hook or by crook so fasten your seatbelt because it's going to be a bumpy ride.

jeff more than 3 years ago

Question about DSs

Do pastors who become DSs become advocates for unthinking obedience to authority or do people who are advocates for unthinking obedience to authority become DSs? :)

Dean Snyder more than 3 years ago

it's a Conundrum, Dean

No doubt some are one or the other, some are both, and some are neither. However, in any organization, the people who get promoted are those who buy into the system. No way a John the Baptist or Nikolai Tesla ever rose through the ranks.

George Nixon Shuler more than 3 years ago

Answer about DSs


I don't believe we've met. The Lord be with you.

While I am sure it is a natural thing to say (and sometimes sport among UM clergy) disparaging things about bishops and superintendents, I actually gave being a United Methodist pastor a lot of thought long before I was appointed a superintendent - because I knew that I would always have to find the balance between critical thought and obedience to authority. Such is the nature of a covenant community and, in the case of the UMC, larger denomination.

I live in an area that, like much of the rest of the US, is increasingly secularized. I also live in an area where Calvinism and Southern Baptists and Churches of Christ are very prominent. Believer's baptism and a lack of recognition of women's ordination run rampant in this area, and pastors in this area fight a constant battle on these and other issues. Were it not for the covenant and organizational structure of the UMC, and the nature of where our authority is placed, many of these pastors and laypersons in them would be hung out to dry. I am often asked why a pastor cannot "rebaptize" their child, or why they "have" to accept a female pastor. Because of the authority of the UMC and the authority of the office I hold, I can support our UMC's stance, as well as pastors and congregations who are faithful and teach within a UM ethos.

I can appreciate that sometimes bishops and DS's can seem like mindless and unthinking bureaucrats. But I can assure you that most of us not only think (sometimes in the middle of the night), but we also pray for God's wisdom and guidance, every day.



Sky McCracken more than 3 years ago

Notable Quotes

Zach Hoag"These are apocalyptic times for American Christianity, in the literal sense that they are revealing times. The decline of Christian faith in the U.S. is, I believe in part, a result of this revelation. There is a deep compromise with the wealth, power and violence of the empire at work in the church in our "In another sense, though, I remain hopeful and resolute. Despite the percentage of evangelicals who voted for and support Trump, I believe we are witnessing the last angry gasps of a perspective that is coming to a necessary end as a dominant force in American society."

– Zach Hoag, author of "The Light Is Winning: Why Religion Just Might Bring Us Back to Life," interviewed by Jonathan Merritt for Religion News Service.

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