The Day I Was Most Ashamed to be a United Methodist

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We Need to Temper Our Shock

LIke Rev. Ray, I can write an essay on things that make me proud that I am a United Methodist. I could bore you for hours with things that embarrass me about being a United Methodist.

However, I am egregiously embarrassed by one of our pastors making one single issue the litmus test on whether one should be proud or embarrassed to be a United Methodist. It makes me want to ask, "Rev. Ray, don't you have a life?"

I am probably the most reluctant pro-choice clergy in the UMC: with our denomination, I know that sometimes abortion is the least lousy of a series of lousy choices, and that those choices need to be made by the woman, her partner, her doctor, and her pastor. At the same time, I also am appalled that almost 30 of the conceptions in this country are aborted. (Check the statistics in any Almanac for the accuracy of that statement!) There are a lot of easier and less traumatic (for all) ways to prevent an unwanted conception from occurring. We need to be preaching that if one wants to be sexually active, one needs to be responsible about it before getting into bed.

To condemn abortion as the single, most important, and even only issue is to ignore preaching the wholeness in life to which Christ taught us to pursue and to live.

I, too, lament the demise of the Cokesbury local stores. At the same time, I know that brick-and-mortar bookstores are closing right and left, and that these days, every online bookstore uses computerized catalogs from distributors like Ingram and others. We get what we pay for. If we want only to get "religious" books that pass muster with our sensibilities, we have to pay the cost of having brick-and-mortar stores. If we aren't willing to pay the financial cost of that luxury, we have to allow for the fact that cataloging is at best an art rather than a science, and not blame Cokesbury for being as much victimized by distributors as Rev. Ray feels.

Tom Griffith more than 2 years ago

One-sided message about abortion

I appreciate his statement, even if I'm not ready to defund the UMW. Whenever GBCS and the Women's Divison speak about the importance, dignity and rights of children, I have to wonder why they don't concern themselves with children before birth. It's just as incomplete as those on the "pro-life" side who seem to stop concerning themselves with children after birth. Justice pays attention to those who are weak and vulnerable. Children before birth are definitely weak and vulnerable, and adults exercise nearly unlimited power over them. Is this not a justice issue? Why does the child exercise no "choice" and the adult has it all? That's been the law for 40 years, but that does not make it just. Once our Social Principles saw abortion as "the tragic conflict of life with life". The current statement appears to see no tragedy or conflict at all.

Jeanne Devine more than 2 years ago

shocked

I am shocked that this article was given print space. For a licensed local pastor to advocate UMC churches dismantle their chapters and support of the United Methodist Women shows an abject lack of understanding for the depth and breadth of the organization's work and value. Instead of him offering dialogue, avenues of reconciliation or grace, he proposes his own death knell on a life-saving organization. Simply because a person is able to string together sentences in a coherent manner, is that reason to give him this public forum? I think the article and its incendiary sentiment more properly belongs under the "Good News" umbrella.

Pamela Nelson-Munson more than 2 years ago

Notable Quotes

"Some religious people even insinuated that it was a punishment from God. Others too said different things about the virus till it claimed the lives of thousands of Sierra Leoneans."
United Methodist Bishop John K. Yambasu, in a recent speech when he also said that Sierra Leone will never be fully free until it is free from Ebola virus.


"All of us learn more from mercy than from judgment."
-- Episcopal priest Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms, a redemptive community for women, and author of a new book, Letters From The Farm: A Simple Path for a Deeper Spiritual Life


"It seems the world is beginning to realize that all the hugging and the talk of the poor and vulnerable and the economy is not a papal PR campaign but an authentic call to live a Gospel that might just require the rest of us to (gasp!) change our lives. And that’s making many people uncomfortable."

– Writer Kerry Weber in an article on Pope Francis for the Jesuit magazine America.


"Our culture is so sick. We arm people to the teeth, they destroy lives with hideous disregard, and then political leaders say, 'All we can do now is pray.' That's a cowardly lie."
-- Church historian and author Diana Butler Bass, shared on Facebook