The Battle for Middle Methodism Has Begun

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the Middle must die

We have a “tradition” of being the reasonable guys in “the middle”. Too many Methodist worship at the alter of centrism, while the world keeps moving toward greater acceptance and practice of Biblical “sin”. When we buy into the notion that people are really all good, then we find ourselves negotiating on where our middle can be. Jesus continually attached the “traditions of men (people)” which serve to form a culture. What we have is a battle of traditions/culture. Some traditions are anchored in the Bible, others in the historic practices of protestant churches, some in the secular humanism that pervades our educational system (even in our denominationally-related colleges) and entertainment choices. God respects NO culture.
In the “body” of Christ, there can be NO division – no self-interests, no demand that others accept us for our uniqueness (whatever special idiosyncrity each one of us has), no pride about how special we are, no demand that everyone must worship on a specific day or at a specific time with specific music (etc.), no demand that others worship the idols we worship, no requirement that we throw away portions of God’s holy word in written form and replace it with new “inspired” words that are birthed from our own, ”fleshly” experiences of alienation or disgust with man’s inhumanity towards man. Unity does not come “because” of diversity, but IN SPITE of it through our love of God.
Our problem is not that we don’t love each other enough, but that we don’t love GOD enough. Centrism doesn’t really value people – just a position. We value nothing, so we are able to pretend we value others who are different than us. We ignore the Holy Spirit and listen only to our own desires to be accepted and deny the temptations of satan, while failing to move forward on a path of sanctification, growing in God’s grace, and acting as Salt to the earth.
Grace and Peace

An old, but not dying UM

Mark J 255 days ago

Interesting!

"...the incredible wealth driving either a progressive expulsion or ecclesial division, fueled by wealthy Baby Boomers desperate for a win their children and grandchildren don’t want."



You need to get out of your place of privilege which has turned into your own isolated echo chamber and connect with younger adults, aka my adult children, who absolutely do not want anything to do with the local church they were raised in. It is not because it is too conservative but because it has wandered away from Christianity that has roots and a history. I do not doubt that there are young Christians that buy into your concept of an "evolved Wesleyan theology" but there are also those that have not! If the progressive way is so appealing to the next generation, then why is the Western Jurisdiction setting the record for numerical decline; why didn't the election of a lesbian Bishop create an increase in money and attendance in the area where she is serving?

Betsy 284 days ago

How many middle won't settle either way?

Show me the money! We “middle-Methodists” will be leaned on hard to be extra-generous to support a church hierarchy which could lose around a third to half of its members over the next few years. We “Middles” also tend to be older so we are dying off and there is no line outside the open doors to take our place. So, with the progressive changes, traditionalists leave, taking their pledges with us, and the un-UMC will lose the doe-ray-me. Many churches and even some conferences will be DOA PDQ – just like the Episcopalians. My wife and I just slowed showing up a couple of years ago and finally started visiting other churches recently. Just tired of the tirades, frustrated at the future, and certain that we do not want to subsidize the inevitable split. One of the churches we have visited still holds to the rules and regs of morality which have served Christians for our history. We’ll find a church where we feel comfortable – and, my car with a “Veterans for Trump” bumper sticker is welcome in the parking lot…

Reese 286 days ago

Amen and Amen!

Sounds like a very likely scenario to me!

betsy 284 days ago

Thanks for your reply. They need to know...

We are Christians first, Methodists second. "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" did not specify denomination. My wife and I have found alternative churches most welcoming...

Reese 284 days ago

Response to Reese

Reese your comments are right on point and show why this debate must come to a definitive end. The vast numbers of Methodists who do not want to engage in the battle will fade away to other churches or become "dones". The Bishops can not kick the can down the road any longer or come up with a half hearted solution, hoping the whole problem will go away. If they don't they will end up being the bishops of nothing.

Scott 284 days ago

Hello Scott. Indeed, delaying until 2019 or...

In fact, the UMC has already made its decision: it allows a lesbian bishop, gay clergy, gay marriages without a whimper, much less penalty. So, the decision is made, the change is underway, the cancellation of the Book of Discipline is now history. Let's all smile, shake, pray, wish all well and move on with a goal of minimizing litigation (as has essentially bankrupt the Episcopalians).

Reese 284 days ago

Follow up response

You are correct that we do not need to end up like the Episcopalians. Here is a fourth way for the Bishops to consider. Suspend the trust clause for a year or two. Every church that wants to leave or doesn't want to deal with all of this can leave. Those that are left can determine the future path of the UMC. Late nature take it's course instead of trying to force a one size fits all solution on the entire denomination. A peaceful split is better than a bitter battle that will never be reconciled. In the end the side that is on the right side of the Lord will become evident.

Scott 283 days ago

You: Solid, common sense, and sensitive to differing priorities...

Last I checked, the Episcopals have spent $18 million fighting over real estate and churches. Who says clergy and leadership don't have big egos!

Reese 283 days ago

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