The United Methodist Church in a United Airlines Moment

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The last sentence states the problem

"But will not survive without a cohesive sense of who we are...." That is the problem: there is absolutely NO cohesive sense of "who we are"; that is the problem! We are not United in thought -rather our message is unintelligible. We are not Methodist because being truly Methodist does not allow for theological plurality. All that remains of our name is Church--and we are most definitely a non-descript church without any "cohesive sense of who we are"!

Betsy 96 days ago

The Big Tent is the problem!

How can a church have unity when there are contradictory ideas about what God intends for our lives? When it comes to the sexuality question in particular, how can a church claim that God is simultaneously for and against same gender couples? That doesn't fly and anybody that is not part of this beleaguered institution can see the impossibility of trying to keep those two viewpoints in play. And as for the underlying theological chasm fueling the hostilities, divine acceptance vs divine redemption sums it up nicely. What I believe is that God did not create us to be "inclusive". God did not raise Israel up to be inclusive but to show the world what it meant to live with the Creator God. So what was accomplished with the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, God the Son, was not about "acceptance us as we are". It was about redeeming each one of us so that through him we can each become the truly human persons God intended us to be before humanity decided to take control of the situation. So yes, I believe in original sin; that humanity is inherently broken. My life does not allow me to accept any other perspective. I can accept that others do not agree with that perspective. I am perfectly willing to allow them their beliefs. But sharing the same church with them is not possible. And for the record, my two thirty something daughters who were raised in the church and their thirtysomething friend who was not raised in the church but considers herself a Christian had absolutely no qualms at dissecting the loosey goosey Easter worship service we attended yesterday that was most definitely about divine acceptance.

Betsy 96 days ago

Not all activisms in the church is the same

"Separate special interest groups have taken over, each unwilling to concede that there might be larger truths that can hold us together." That is not accurate. Many on the "left" in our church or leaning that way, as well as those would self-define as moderates, have repeatedly acknowledged there are reasons to stay together. That is why so many LGBTQ persons and their allies are still in the UMC! Advocates have asked for “middle way” solutions that would NOT state the view that God has created and blessed humankind in all our diverse sexual orientations. Such solutions have been put forward as: having no statement on homosexuality in the Book of Discipline (we really don't have to have a statement on every possible subject under the sun) or a statement that acknowledges our disagreement on this and our intention to keep working on it with the help of the Holy Spirit moving in our community. That latter solution recalls an alternative wording for the Book of Discipline that I believe was suggested by our bishops in recent years. Unfortunately, such solutions have not been acceptable to those who have had the majority vote at General Conferences. Perhaps their refusal to accept a middle way, which could have been the "way forward" for the UMC long before GC 2016, can be attributed to a lack of vision of how to be a big tent church. But it is inaccurate and unjust to attribute that lack of vision to all activists involved in this important moral, spiritual - and I would say, Godly - struggle for our church's future.

Moreover, it is not only a lack of vision that has produced this impasse, it springs from something intrinsic to our decision-making, the process we use in our conferences: annual, jurisdictional, central, and general. The simple majority voting method allows for our votes to be used as a tool, a weapon, even a bludgeon, on what is sometimes a huge minority in the church. I am not wise enough to suggest a replacement for that, and finding one would be no simple task, but do suggest that United Methodists and all Protestants using that process should examine the use and abuse of it vis a vis our values as faith communities.

One other point I must disagree with - that Protestants have no "unifying vision." Yes we still have our various denominations, but the vast scope and depth of ecumenical action today, which in many instances goes well beyond just Protestant Christians, belies the idea we do not have any vision of what unifies us.

I think our various denominations may serve a useful purpose. Our nuanced variations in expressing God's good news may appeal to the needs of a diverse humanity. Yes, some denominations still will say their way is the only truly correct one, but even those Christians often seek and find common ground for valuable "big tent" actions. One current example: the Circle of Protection, advocating for a moral budget, includes Roman Catholics, Evangelicals, mainline Protestants: http://bit.ly/2nBVcE5

Terry 98 days ago

Not the prblem

Can we right ourselves and display to the world yet once more that the way of Jesus brings us together in a unique sense of holiness and wholeness in our differences, not splits us apart? Holiness? How can we have holiness when part of the church dishonors thier vows of ordination and acts in a way that expresses disobedience to the Holy Scriptures. You forget Chrusty that the orthodox majority in the UMC didn't start this fight. The disobedience of clergy in conducting gay marriage and the act of Rev. Oliveto in engaging in gay marriage brought us to this point. And you want to blame the "factions" for this. Simply adherence to the Discipling as it is written. End of story. WCA and Good News didn't pick this fight. As far as those that long for God..."Those who long for God and God’s goodness will go to any other church, uninterested in a “United” Methodist Church that has no evidence of real unity", those who long for God are joining non-denominational churches because they are tired of being affiliated with a church that disregards God's mandate of marriage between "one man and one women". And those searching for God are NOT flocking to the churches that embrace gay marriage. Just look at the PCA, ELCA, and Episcopal - their members are dropping like dead flies. What do you think will happen to the UMC? Churches are already leaving, members are leaving for evangelical churches, and the church will implode in 50 years. Maybe that the UMC's true destiny. To liberate the faithful to seek a true Apostolic, Biblically faithful body of believers where the Bible is true authority and Christ reigns supreme.

Jeff Lucas 99 days ago

Notable Quotes


     "Donald Trump has made it obvious that my old church is not filled with followers of Christ. You cannot follow Jesus and support a tax cut for the rich that would end health care to millions of the oldest, poorest and sickest people. You cannot follow Jesus and hate minorities. You cannot follow Jesus and treat women as inferior."

– Brett Younger, senior minister at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, NY, writing for Baptist News Global,


 

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