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November 13, 2012

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Back on October 19th the United Methodist Reporter ran an article by Dr. Thomas Glenn "Jack" Jackson III, E. Stanley Jones Assistant Professor of Evangelism, Mission, and Global Methodism at Claremont School of Theology entitled Breaking up is hard, but right thing for the UMC.

Some people linked to it on FaceBook. There has been quite a bit of discussion about it since it appeared.

It came out at the same time I was having major computer (and some health) difficulties (see: Personal Update 10/30/12), so I did not comment on the article here.

I did post John Wesley’s comments on schism — that was a comment of sorts.

On the off-chance you haven’t read Jackson’s article, here is my overview:

At the last General Conference the United Methodist Church re-affirmed it’s traditional stance on same-gender sex and on the ordination of actively gay and lesbian clergy. This, in spite of years and years of protest by progressives in the denomination. With the growth of the denomination in Africa and Asia, and its decline in Europe and the U. S. A., it is likely that this stance will be maintained in the UMC for many years to come. So, what are progressives to do? Jackson says, well, they have four options: (1.) “The first, to stay in covenant with the UMC while working toward inclusion….”; (2.) “The second option is to leave, or never join, the UMC in favor of progressive, fully inclusive denominations”; (3.) “The third option for progressives, one increasingly in play, is civil disobedience”; (4.) “…dividing from one UMC to at least two new, distinct denominations.”

The main part of the article is an argument that option 3 — civil disobedience, the option already chosen by the Western Jurisdiction — will not work and is actually destructive for the progressives’ cause. He says: (1.) “First, progressives don’t seem to have the resources to both stem the tide of decline nationwide and work towards inclusion”; (2.) “Second, there is little if any chance the denomination will become inclusive over the next generation”; (3.) “Third, the civil disobedience option ignores the reality that many progressives are choosing the second option of leaving the UMC or never entering it”; (4.) “Fourth, many advocates of civil disobedience ignore, or seem unaware of, the way many traditionalists will respond if current prohibitions are overturned.” He says that if even 10% leave, the results will be crippling to the denomination.

It’s all very well and clearly stated.

The overwhelming conclusion, he says, is that progressive United Methodists should set forth a plan to split the church along traditionalist / progressive lines.

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November 13, 2012

Comments (3)

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UMC's Future

The attraction of progressives to religious denominations grew predominantly as a political soution or a means to an end to counter what the left believed was one of the major impediments to their agenda. Many of the progressives either did not truly embrace the spiritual element of Christianity or simply convinced themselves that their view were and are aligned with the true teachings of Christ. Nonetheless, religious denominations were seen as the means to mainstream their agenda in the United States. Of course, something happened along the way to the total conversion (through ministerial and leadership positions) that they expected, and that is, their agenda was not being accepted by congregations. As the progressives grow more secular in orientation and support they ultimately lose the basis for the church's existence only to be supplanted by the all powerful state. In essence, if the state supplies the needs of the people why do the people need religion and faith. Of course, progressives either refuse to acknowledge this or are incapable of grasping the destructive fruits of their agenda. The UM will regain it's secure footing with congregations and experience a rejuvination if these elements ultimately leave the church.

David 146 days ago

conspiracy Theory Talking Points Don't Help

Your bearing of false witness against others here based upon right-wing memes is reprehensible. Seldom have I see such an ignorant, smug, as wasteful post anywhere. Your assertions merely show the weakness of your position in the face of the steamrolling of history.

Actually the other Mainline denominations which have rejected hatred against their LGBT brothers and sisters are doing quite well, thank you. That we fight within the UMC against extremist elements when we have so many other options merely illustrates our commitment to doing what is right. Progressives tend to possess verve and elan and are not cowed by your sneering lugubrious missive. We ain't leaving. We'll win just like the good side that won the Civil War.

George Nixon Shuler 146 days ago

Loving one another

Well, OK, I am willing to seek to love those who currently despise me in the hope of contact and working together.
However. At our 2011 Annual conference when we had hoped to have some real discussion of the Resolutions made available by the RMN and local progressives, people, we were confronted byt a Rule of Order that we /COULD NOT discuss any matters directed to the General Conference, implying that they would not have any local implications.
It was, of course, directed to the RMN resolutions but also caught up Israel-Palestine and Immigration materials in its net. What was the intent of Conferences, anyway? Just to mindlessly vote on insurance and ordain a few people and over-eat fat-heavy food and go home?
If we are not allowed to confer, to discuss, to work on our differences, then how can we solve the problems, how can we remain one church. I would not advise anyone to join the UMC right now, although I warmly welcome those who wander in and hope they will stay in My Congregation which mostly does not think at all of the larger church, nor care what it does.

Anne Ewing more than 1 years ago

CONTEMPLATION

FOR LENT

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