No Way Forward in Sight

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Freedom for the distressed

I am dismayed but also hopeful. May the Reconciling congregations, pastors and church members who choose to exit the "traditional" United Methodist Church find joy, freedom, creative expression of The Gospel, and a growing body of souls young and old to bring to Jesus' loving grace and compassionate justice beginning with the scared gay kids down the street from your church. I once was part of a congregation which was split in its desire to support refugee resettlement. Bickering and racist platitudes dampened everyone's spirit until a small group chose to organize a community ecumenical ministry outside of the "walls" of the church. The mission flourished, displaced families were housed and clothed, and our group found joy (even abounding laughter) working together without the damming resistance to which we had nearly succumbed. 98% of The Book of Discipline can still offer ingredients for "new wine" void of the rancor that has contaminated so much of your conferencing and ministry for nearly 50 years. This is the (new) day that the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it.

Al Vrieze 27 days ago

Way Forward

Our delegates were given choices about possible ways forward. They chose one. It may not be the one that our bishops were pushing for but it is our chosen path. Since General Conference speaks for The UMC our bishops will be expected to support the decisions of GC.

Kevin 27 days ago

Honor your oath

Dear Bishop. Let me pose your questions from a different perspective. (1) Do you understand the cost to the Denomination if any plan other than the Traditional Plan (our already existing stance and understanding of Scriptual authority) passes? How such a scenario would weaken the denomination’s Global Structure and organizations when Traditionalists and the bulk of African congregation either leave or engage in their version of BOD protest by refusing to pay apportionments? How it will lesson the credibility of the church among a majority of it members (perhaps not in the shrinking jurisdictions in which you serve but in South Central, Southeastern and the African continent and swaths of Europe and Asia). (I am aware all US jurisdictions are losing members, but so far the South Central and Southeastern less so than those in the Western and New England areas)
(2). How would Traditionalists react if any other plan passes? I believe they would leave in droves. You might be okay with that. But a large percentage of Traditionalists are not willingly going to give towards apportionments if a portion of those funds pay for Bishops and ministers who refuse to uphold our duly adopted Book of Discipline.
(3) the way you and every other ordained Bishop and ordained minister move forward is to honor your oath to respect and follow all provisions of our duly adopted Book of Discipline, the oath you took before God and His people. If your conscience does not allow you do so, be honorable and resign from your position. I can respect anyone willing to honor his or her conscience, but it’s very problematic to respect those who rather cause chaos and openly defy our denomination’s official position rather than honoring their consciences and transferring their time, talents and financial support to a church or denomination that has like-minded principals. I’m willing to leave the UMC if it adopts principals that violate my conscience. Are you?
(4). We witness to our LGBTQ... brothers and sisters as we do all. All sinners are welcome. Everyone who sins is welcome in our pews with other sinners like me. But we expect our leadership to live lives to a higher standards, standards they vow to accept upon ordination. I do not suggest leadership must be above sin (only Christ can meet that standard), but I do expect them to seek forgiveness and make a real effort to sin no more. I could not accept pastoral authority from heterosexual adulterers, male or female, any more than I could from a non-celebrate homosexual, as Scripture speaks to both. If that makes me a “hater” or a “ Metho-fascist” in your eyes, I will have to live with that, as I must believe and act in the manner I understand is pleasing to God, rather than what might be acceptable to current culture.
To conclude, do the job required of your oath of office and you will be fine. If your conscience does not allow you to abide by your oath, do the honorable thing and move on.

John 27 days ago

Equal?

"We witness to our LGBTQ... brothers and sisters as we do all. All sinners are welcome. Everyone who sins is welcome in our pews with other sinners like me."

Ah, but you, a sinner, are permitted full inclusion while your fellow GLBT 'sinners' are excluded.

I see: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." The Traditional paradigm in a nutshell. And you wonder why we resist?

Benjamin A. Uchytil 23 days ago

Excuse me

Disruptive behavior is NOT acceptable in ANY civil organization. That is the mark of self-centered and immature people who cannot accept a fair and democratic process; disrespecting those with whom they supposedly wish to remain connected to. You show supreme disregard to civility by rationalizing petulant behavior, and yes it is backfiring on the perpetrators, as well it should. Those who disrupt proceedings are hypocrites who serve only justify those who seek to exclude them from church office by feeding fear of continual destructive and aggressive behavior. Do no harm indeed!

Dave 28 days ago

Please don't leave us

That's my simple plea to both the conservatives and the liberals in my beloved church. Being brothers and sisters in Christ doesn't mean we have to agree on everything. We can even disagree on really important things. Families do it all the time and stay together. They do it by continuing to love each other, not by arguing until everyone is in agreement. We need each other.

Lewis Stockett 28 days ago

If we are honest, we don't need each other

I have to respectfully disagree with you. When we have nothing in common theologically, even disagreeing on the definition of sin, righteousness, holiness, salvation, repentance, and redemption, why would staying together make any sense? When we have no common understanding of Christ, God, the Holy Spirit, or the mission of the Church, and are actively working against each other, it's long past time to wish each other well and go our separate ways.

As a theological conservative, this Bishop's words and lack of grace are shocking. Think about how spiteful, and threatening this sounds towards theological conservatives who are in the unfortunate position of having her as their Bishop.

Paul W. 28 days ago

"Mote in own eye"?

"this Bishop's words and lack of grace are shocking."

Hmmm. But worshiping an evil false god who plays with folks like a toddler with tinkertoys? If that's one's vision of "redemption," it's entirely worthless to persons of good character.

George Nixon Shuler 27 days ago

May all progressives please leave us

No offense Bishop, but our differences are too great after years of sliding away from Biblical based teachings to the quagmire of liberal, social justice positions. Our collective members clergy, and leaders need to split along progressive/traditional positions. It will be better for all concerned. The UMC needs to get back to its mission of spreading The Good Word to all the world. We don’t need leaders who either don’t believe in this mission, or want to prioritize other social justice issues as more important. I look forward to getting my UMC church back on track, ridding it of all(most) progressives, and teaching what the Bible tells us and not some leftist academic’s interpretation. I look forward to recapturing the lessons, values, and worship of the UMC I initially joined instead of what it has become. Bishop, please leave the UMC and take your progressive clergy and members with you. The UMC has suffered enough and deserves a fresh path to leading others to righteousness.

Steve 28 days ago

As a lifelong member I disagree

I have discovered that a church that believes nothing in particular is more of a liability than an asset. I am tired of listening to people talk past each other because they are coming at church and Christianity from totally different and even contradictory perspectives. I never expected that after 2000 years, Christianity would become a never ending conversation; I thought God was never changing. I am no longer surprised that the American UMC is experiencing 50 years of uninterrupted numerical decline that has the potential to make it disappear. Who wants to be part of any organization that cannot agree on who it is and what it is it needs to be doing? Why would you expect anybody to want to be part of such an insane organization?

betsy 27 days ago

We need each other

"We need each other." Not when one side is allowed to abuse the other.

What would you do if you found out that your husband was physically abusing your minor child due to your child's newly found gay sexuality? Would you demand the family stay together, or would you seek safety for your child?

The UMC has been abusing its GLBT children for some 50 years. It's time for us to stand up and protect them.

Benjamin A. Uchytil 23 days ago

Maxie is going to his grave...

Last night I rode to an Oscar party on one of those little cable cars that climb halfway to the stars.
And realized that Maxie doesn't want to share his version of Heaven with any of these folks of indeterminate gender and sexual orientation.
Not to mention the drag queens celebrating Oscar Night.
Or that Out Lesbian Bishop from San Francisco and all her homeless weirdos from Glide.
Nosiree, he can't have any of those folks polluting United Methodism with their LGBT clergy and LGBT weddings!
So Maxie's last and sweetest move is to take down the Council of Bishops' One Church Plan, contravening their wisdom after three wasted years.
And, like another blind Samson, taking down the Temple of Sodomy (aka the Fertility God Dagon sowing his wild oats) with him.
Or something like that.
So he can spend his last years in a purified, shrunken, and debilitated church. Before he ascends at last to a Heaven populated by solely by those straight and righteous graduates of Asbury Theological Seminary who have been properly indoctrinated about REAL Christian Love.
Or something like that.

Wayne 28 days ago

Amen and Amen, Bishop

Thank you for expressing so eloquently my sadness and despair. The United Methodist Church has been diminished in the eyes of the world. It has stepped back from a position of leadership and grace, and is seemingly intent on moving backwards to rigidity and the worship of power. I can only take heart in the words of my son, who says that we are fighting a war that is already over. His children, he says, along with the vast majority of their generation, are perfectly comfortable with all of the confusing gender identities that genetics creates in humanity. They will look back on our power struggles with amusement. I hope he’s correct.

Tom Borden 27 days ago