Coming Clean About Taboo Topics



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In defense...

After writing this piece a couple of weeks ago I'd like to offer a couple of defenses:

1. I regret calling out Dr. Fox and Dr. Dunham only because the coalition between the SEJ and Central Conferences on this particular issue goes much deeper than just 2 people. Politics is killing any hope for open and honest discussion.

2. I stand by the argument that we'll never grow beyond our differences if members of both "camps" continue to refuse to sit down openly discuss issues instead of digging their heels in more to the stances they hold. Conferencing requires just as much listening as talking.

3. I'm so glad this article sparked such support and critique. I'm very glad to know this piece was something we could gather (albeit virtually) and talk and disagree about. I hope everyone knows that anything I disagreed with in piece I tried to do so in love.

Ben Gosden more than 10 years ago

Inflammatory Language

Thought it ironic that Rob Renfroe would appeal to the line "people of good faith can differ" when he is president of an organization, Good News, that was instrumental in defeating that very petition referred to in the blog. Apparently we can use and not use this phrase to defend ourselves even as we use it to attack others - a very useful phrase in keeping us divided.

Wesley White more than 10 years ago

Purposeful Protestors

As one of them, I need to tell you that I would be very glad to have honest and open conversation. But I am sick of hearing my friends and fellow Methodists called vile names, and denigrated because of whom they love. I am sick of hearing people say that "of course we honor them as children of God" and then deny them the rites of marriage, and the right to answer their call to the pastorate. The right to be what God made them to be.
If I could have a civil conversation, without dirty looks because I wear a button that says Love Your Neighbor, without having MY faith called into question as well, then that would be good, and we would be living together.
But, until that can happen, with grace and Wesleyan care, then I have two choices. Purposefully protest, or allow myself to be driven from the church I love, the church where 5 generations of my ancestors have worshipped and learned and served. I choose protest.

Anne Ewing more than 10 years ago

inflammatory language

Why do those who pride themselves on diversity, dialogue and mutual respect have to use inflammatory, dismissive language? In describing Dr. Dunnam and Rev. Fox as "grandfathers" of resistance you are engaging in ageism. Why not take on their ideas rather than dimiss their views because of their age?

"By hook or crook" is a charge of wrong-doing. Put specifics to your charge or don't make it.

This kind of writing and thinking that denies that people of good faith can differ makes helpful conversation very difficult.

Rob Renfroe more than 10 years ago

Taboo topics

In their presentation Hamilton or Slaughter mentioned that some of us read scripture passages about "polygamy" and "concubines" the same way as passages about homosexuality. As I understand the issue, the African church has to make rules to accommodate new converts who bring multiple wives (they get to keep them, as a justice issue for the wives who would be abandoned) and existing members are allowed to have two wives (because that's part of their culture). I understand that the UMW has rules about "first wives" who are allowed to hold office, and rotation of which wife is "first" this year. Those rules are not in our Discipline, and we don't get to debate what scripture says. We don't understand their culture and we don't make rules for them. Appropriately so. Maybe it time to say that they don't understand our culture and shouldn't vote on rules for us.

Jim Davis more than 10 years ago

Taboo topics

Perhaps it is time that a "Progressive Methodist Church" and an "Evangelical Methodist Church" be formed. The two sides are never going to agree.

How is that for a "Taboo Topic"?

Mike Childs more than 10 years ago

Taboo Topics

You comments about Maxie Dunnam and Eddie Fox are insulting and false. There is no "hook or crook" in their positions. They openly and honestly expressed the views of the large majority (about 60% of the General Conference delegates according to the vote) of United Methodists. The vote against homosexual practice was larger than in previous years. That reflects the views of places where the United Methodists Chruch is growing. That is the direction that the church is going for the foreseeable future - like it or not.

The rejected resolution did more than say we disagree. Of course we disagree about many things. It implied that the church was moving in a direction that we are simply not going. It weakened our stand, when the grass roots of the church feels stronger than ever that the present stand is biblical, compassionate, and true.

Mike Childs more than 10 years ago


It would be interming to see all three motions beside one another. Do you know where they may all be found? I suspect the nuances might give some clues for work to be done in the next four years.

Wesley White more than 10 years ago

Coming Clean about Taboo Topics

Very well said, Ben - and thanks for still being willing to be ordained into our dysfunctional church family - and congratulations! We who have been moderates in our denomination find hope for the future in well reasoned and expressed positions such as the one you have shared here - thanks!

Rev. Ivan G. Corbin more than 10 years ago


Ben, thanks for these open & honest comments about GC. I'm a former GC lay delegate who for the last few years, evidently because of my expressing views that the conservative congregation considers heretical (, has been officially shunned by this UMC congregation that I've been a member of for more than 50 years. I've been watching a lot of GC the last few days & it's discouraging, to say the very least. I appreciate your brave stance.

Barbara Wendland more than 10 years ago

Coming clean about taboo topics

There is a lot that goes on at GC that isn't visible via twitter or even live feed. Surprisingly the "grandfathers of the resistance" had agreed to a compromise that included language regarding our struggle with the issue of homosexuality. Even the renewal movements were supportive. Sadly, for a lot of reasons, including Roberts rules, that compromise was not able to be heard & therefore even considered. If it had been, I believe it would have passed & we would have begun to move forward with a great deal more intergrity

Kim Reisman more than 10 years ago