The Gift of Unity in Diversity in the UMC

Why I Support the One Church Plan



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Thanks for the piece by Amy Valdez Barker. I resonate with her description of the conversation of John Wesley Fellows at Christmas Conference. And I think it is an apt image of the United Methodist Church at its best. I would like to the think that those persons attending General Conference could imagine themselves as part of such a microcosm of the UMC as a whole.

Michael G. Cartwright more than 2 years ago

Our different beliefs are not tearing us apart

The demand by some that the whole church must get in line with their particular understandings are.

But there is another problem with the theological plurality within the church: I literally grew up in the Methodist/United Methodist Church and as much as its strong presence in my life made a positive difference, the fact that it no longer operates from a single theological core has ultimately made it a liability: Because the church was unable to speak clearly and consistently about who God is and who I am I was left spending my life in a non-descript area, unable to find peace either with God or the world. As John Wesley stated, that is a miserable existence. It was not until the church had left me so lost, broken and confused that I was forced to wander off in search of "something". What I discovered was the existence of the triune God of holy love who loves even me more than I could think about loving myself; and I found that God via the teachings of an assortment of teachers from the communion of saints past and present who crisscrossed denominational lines; John Wesley was among them. After decades of confusion I learned that Christianity is not rocket science--which it felt like with the ambiguity of the church's teaching--it is simply unfathomable. It is all well and good that young clergy can have these warm fuzzy and respectful conversations. But those "theological conversations" do absolutely nothing to help the rank and file United Methodist connect to God in a meaningful way. I am working hard to shed myself of the identity that I am a United Methodist because, as it turns out, it means absolutely nothing; Christianity that has degenerated into a never ending discussion is not effective in changing individual lives.

Turns out, early Methodism under the leadership of John Wesley, transformed Wesley's part of the world because he never wavered from his Priority #1: the rank and file individual and their life with God; Wesley was all about a "practical religion for a plain people". There is nothing practical about the religion The UMC is currently offering and it is certainly not for a plain person who simply wants to wake up each morning and have confidence that they are in sync with their creator triune God. Any theological conversations John Wesley had with his preachers was about what they all needed to be teaching so that everybody who heard them were on the same page when it came to understanding who God is and who they are. Something The American UMC is completely incapable of doing. Thus we now have one theological faction demanding that the church must believe as they believe.

betsy more than 2 years ago

Notable Quotes 

"When one’s power, authority, or position is derived from demarcating and defending orthodoxy, then singling out more heretics is always necessary. The status one holds depends on maintaining loyalties and passing purity tests."

– Baptist pastor Brian Kaylor, "The Tragedy of Russell Moore" in Religion & Politics.

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