Abundance of Future Plans Share Variations on a Theme

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We are truly a mess when....

An attempt to hold people accountable to the vows they willingly made to live by the Discipline of The United Methodist Church is called "punitive legalism". We owe John Wesley a major apology for turning his attempts to craft a "practical religion for a plain people" into such a complex. disjointed, confusing three ring circus. And here he thought the worst that could happen would be for Methodism to become the form of religion without the power. It has become a full on anything goes insane donnybrook. And the people in the pews--the very people John Wesley was always the most concerned about--are going to bear the brunt of this insanity.

betsy 93 days ago

But Betsy...

It's not about holding people accountable. It's not.

Because there were mechanisms for that before GC2019.

You just don't like the results. You want to have more control over the outcome - because you didn't like how that process ended.

The one pastor (I think in Iowa) is heading to a church trial, after the third time she's been accused? Accusation leveled, judgment passed... that should have been the end of the story. But you disagreed with the outcome, so it had to happen again... and then change the rules to apply mandatory penalties... and then accusation again.

This final accusation is from someone not even in her annual conference - who doesn't even live in HIS annual conference (or hers, for that matter).

Might as well bring her up on charges of healing someone on the Sabbath.

But I guess that's been done before too.

JR 92 days ago

I agree.

...to the point that there were mechanisms to hold people and annual conferences accountable before general conference, but what do you propose the solutions are when the bishops choose to not follow those enforcement mechanisms? What if an annual conference decided that it would no longer ordain women, the judicial said they had to, and then the annual conference continues not to? It is only logical that those who think the rules should be followed introduced and then voted for the rules to be enforced.

In the end, when we don't agree, following the rules is important- because that is the only way that people can respect those with which they disagree and work with integrity towards a solution.

td 91 days ago

I agree with what you say...

... but American history points out numerous cases where 'simply following the rules' doesn't work.

That's the whole point of disruption, in any system - break it, reconfigure, move forward. It worked for Uber, it worked for the American Colonies, it worked for the Civil Rights movement, etc etc ad nauseum. And I'm sure it failed in a lot of ways too.

Heck, it even worked for the LGBTQ+ community. Stonewall Riots were a significant point there.

But with our limited retrospective view, we like to think that there was 'one moment' where things changed. Really it's a curve - and once you get far along that curve, you break free from the gravity well of 'what was' onto a new path. Without enough momentum to get there, a minor perturbation on the path swings back to where it was.

I don't know what the answer is here. I get that the 'undermining the rules' is a huge issue. I also get that the rules aren't where we should be.

Here's a thought - would you be willing to support changing the rules (LGBTQ+ marriage and ordination) that goes along with a stronger accountability on the clergy (at all levels), inclusive of a potential removal from office? Basically codify the 'penalty' phase of a church trial?

[I don't think that's really a good way to go, but I'm feeling out compromise points]

JR 90 days ago

No.

I will not agree that we can have clergy who unrepetently and repetitively engage in sex acts outside of a marriage between a man and woman.

The sticking point here is not about rules; it is about whether our church abandons its teaching on this sin. We simply can not claim to be maintaining the christian faith if we abandon the christian teachings on sexual sins.

I appreciate your search for common ground. The truth is that our previous policy was the middle ground. It was essentially a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. But it required that our clergy not publically self avow and not display their sexual transgressions. I don't think this policy was respectful to most involved, but it mostly worked until the clergy and their enabling bishops decided to not follow it.

Personally, I don't think the umc has much of a future in the US. The clergy and bishops are not trusted by the laity both on an integrity and beliefs level. Many um churches and clergypersons today are primarily operating as political action groups or civic clubs. And the more disturbing trend from leadership is turning our clergy into administrators and bean counters instead of pastors who walk through life with their parishioners.

td 84 days ago

A few points

1. I agree church trials should be put on hold as we will probably split next year and any decision will be reversed. A big waste of money and more ill will. However there should be a corresponding moratorium on defying the rules. Nothing can be done about the results of gc 2019 until a new gc meets. At that point the issue will be moot. 2. You are spinning. The Indianapolis plan only had 1/3 traditionalists on it. That is not a majority
3. The umc next plan is more a sketch than a plan. It reads as a list of progressive aspirations with a, Oh and if traditionalists don't like it we will give a difficult and expensive plan for disaffiliation. You seem to forget that this is a global denomination with the voting power in the hands of traditionalists, not a us denomination. The Indianapolis plan is probably a traditionalist originated plan, but they are willing to give away the store and walk away for the sake of peace. For some this is hard to swallow. This is the best, most grace filled plan out there and probably a one time possibility. 2024 would be a traditional dominated gc with the traditional plan surely implemented in full. Everyone please give up the hate and anger, look at it from the other side, and pray on it. If you have a better and fair plan that will pass then put it out there, you only have 4 weeks.

Scott 93 days ago

How.

How is umc next a plan? It simply wants to make decisions behind closed doors...and then...what? It sounds like a recipe for disaster that will take years, have many court costs, and end up pleasing only the bishops. But, by all means it will keep the issues as secret as possible from the people in the pews.

td 93 days ago

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