May 3, 2012

Do you like this?

It's an old joke, but true nonetheless: Be careful what virtue you ask of God, because you will surely be placed in life situations where you will have to practice it! So it has been with me, and others of my acquaintance, this week at General Conference.

In my case, the spiritual challenge before me has been to refrain from cynicism, despair and "snark" about The United Methodist Church. I have seen too much of the ugly underbelly of the institution over the past quarter of a century, and staring too long at darkness can impede one's vision of light.

Moreover, during those 24 years, many people – I would venture to say as many as hundreds – of United Methodists who have been injured by the institution have turned to me to bare their wounds and share their stories. My empathy for their collective plight has left me with scars of my own, making for a very jaundiced view of the workings of the church.

So when I met with my spiritual director before General Conference, she asked me what concrete plan I had for achieving my spiritual goals. I mentioned constant prayer, including times apart with God, to strive to see all delegates as God's beloved daughters and sons. I now report, to my consternation, that my plan has been sorely tried by the actions of the General Conference.


In short, I am heartbroken at the loss of the General Commission on Religion and Race and the General Commission on Status and Role of Women in the new structure of the United Methodist general agencies. They have been replaced by a "Committee on Inclusiveness." To my mind, the denomination has achieved its streamlining on the backs of women and people of color, a discouraging symbol that the UMC values material success more than people.

I confess that the restructure hurts personally because it impacts me twice as a woman of mixed-race heritage. Our family descends in part from the Lumbee people, who intermarried with freed slaves around Fayetteville, NC. I discovered this heritage some years ago only after deep research into our family's geneaology, because the culture of segregation in the South caused my great-grandparents to hide their racial identities. Hence, I have the blood of both Native Americans and African Americans flowing through my veins. This knowledge has given me a new understanding and affiliation with people of color, along with new awareness of how my own family sacrificed its true nature to access the privilege of whiteness. In America, being white has meant life, pure and simple.

May 3, 2012

Comments (1)

Comment Feed

col.chivington repentance of

I am a member of the umc, during my incarceration I participated in umc n umcw all prisoners of okl redemption church, it is awsome however I am also a Cheyenne Native AMerican Indian women an a student at SWOSU i have been doing some studies on the Sand Creek Massacre and the Washita Massacre, to my horror found that col. chivington was a methodist preacher, I was really excited about your conference and the apology. I want a copy or to see it or read it something substancial not money or promises of money the actual apology to my people. how do I get this?

norene starr more than 1 years ago

Recent Posts



How can we discern God's will for the future of The United Methodist Church? Through United Methodist Insight, leaders and influencers gain a broad vision of the news and views that are shaping the global denomination. Your financial support helps prepare United Methodist leaders for 21st century challenges of faith. Click on the donate button above for online giving. Or make checks payable to St. Stephen UMC and write "UM Insight" on the memo line. Then mail to United Methodist Insight, c/o St. Stephen United Methodist Church, 2520 Oates Drive, Mesquite, TX 75150. Thank you!

Sign up for the weekly compilation of UM Insight original content and articles from multiple sources of interest to the future of The United Methodist Church.
  • Court Decisions

    UMC Trial Courts Have Options

    United Methodist "jurors" have many more options available to them than "not guilty" or "revoke credentials" in a pastor's church trial, writes the Rev. Jerry Eckert.

  • Dallas Wedding

    Supervisory Response Under Way for Rev. McElvaney

    Dallas Area Bishop Michael McKee has confirmed that a "supervisory response" is under way in the complaint against the Rev. Bill McElvaney for officiating at the religious wedding of a gay couple.

  • Washington Mudslide

    United Methodists Ready to Assist After Washington Mudslide

    The Pacific Northwest Conference's emergency response team stands poised to help a devastated community recovery from a massive mudslide, once critical rescue-and-recovery efforts conclude over the widespread and still dangerous debris field.

Built with Metro Publisher™