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Why Don’t They Start With Asking the PEOPLE in the PEWS?

We have a plethora of groups and bishops, intellectuals and clergy, this-ways and that-ways writing endless long articles on what might be, could be, should be, wanna be… No minds will be changed!
Why not HAVE EACH CHURCH VOTE? Now! Simple question:
“Do we of St._____of the UMC of ___(city)_______, ___(state)______, ___(country)_________ want to:
_________ ALLOW LGBTQ ordination and marriage in our specific church?
_________ NOT ALLOW LGBTQ ordination and marriage in our specific church?
With this simple multiple choice, we will know where EVERY CHURCH stands. Where every conference stands is irrelevant at this point. Real people do not go to Sunday services or donate money directly to conferences. Only at local churches. When frustrated people quit, they quit at the church level.
Once the true patterns are known, then relevant plans can be made in how to divide it up, set up the new denominations, and settle the finances. Just too easy!
Attitudes and platitudes, well-intentioned or simply angry people writing epistles based on their own interpretations of scripture or life are causing UMC-wide yawning. Let’s get down to business.
By the way, in the interim, by showing where each church stands will allow pew people to leave one church for another Methodist church across town if they feel more comfortable there. Isn't that better than having them just stop attending a UMC altogether?

Reese more than 2 years ago

It's an idea.

I am not sure what the ramifications of this idea, if implemented, would be. The fact though is that in the umc, we do not decide doctrine, rules, or even clergy staffing at the local level.

I also know that a local vote like this would split local churches apart- an idea that may be tolerable in suburban or urban areas, but is unteneble in rural churches and small towns due to how entwined the families, neighborhoods, and churches are with the community.

I do like the idea of finding out exactly what the people in the pews think. My general impression is that they wish this issue had never come up and that it would go away and that our leaders and bishops are untrustworthy and selfish.

td more than 2 years ago

JR – If WE are in agreement, can world peace be far behind?

Your offering, “I do like the idea of finding out exactly what the people in the pews think,” far exceeds the honesty and sincerity of the Bishops Council et al. They of closed meetings have little interest in what we people in the pews think.
Having been a prisoner of corporate life for several years, I fully recognize and understand the arrogance and disconnection of “mid-level management”. They hold meetings, we carry the ball and pay the bills. They hold secrets. We hold watch. They focus on their own interests and we focus on the issues. It’s all the same!
Don’t worry about the coming conflicts within local churches. That is already happening and the worst is yet to come. Divorces are seldom pretty or nice and those in the middle, in our case, those who really have no opinion, suffer most. In other news, the sun will rise tomorrow in the East.

Reese more than 2 years ago


What I do like about your idea is that it is a poll AND it is directly about the clergy issue that we are talking about. What I do not like about the poll example is that it defines people based on who they are sexually attracted to- which I believe is not within our Christian theology. But I concede that your language is almost simple enough to escape my objection.

td more than 2 years ago

I'd go a step further

I'd want to see counts, not just congregational majority vote.

Here's an example (with numbers just off the top of my head):

3 churches in a particular area.
All 3 have a majority voting for no LGBTQ+ in marriage or clergy.
But if you get the member counts:
#1 votes 125 - 65 with 40 members not voting.
#2 votes 244 - 42 with 87 members not voting.
#3 votes 76 - 72 with 30 members not voting.

out of 767 members in that area:
445 (57%) say LGBTQ+ in marriage or clergy.
179 (23%) say yes to LGBTQ+ in marriage or clergy. This is a larger group that the total congregation of the smallest church.
157 (20%) could not be bothered to vote.

But despite having enough support for one whole church to be LGBTQ+ supporting, the 'top' vote would have all agree with no LGBTQ+. That could potentially kill one, possibly 2 churches in this example, if all the LGBTQ+ affirming folks were to leave. On the other hand, if all 3 were at 90% or more in the same direction, that tells us something important as well.

Knowing what the level of support is between the membership can only help us. I would actually like a more comprehensive survey, but the more complex the less likely to get good responses.

JR more than 2 years ago