What If UMC Identity Document Can Prevent Schism?

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Identity document

Looks like another attempt to change the rules when a group can't get its own way. You can change the wording, change the definition, but that doesn't solve the problem of not obeying God's Holy Word.

William Pearsall more than 4 years ago

Please explain ...

...how you got from point a to point b. "God's Holy Word" is silent when justification for oppression is sought.

George Nixon Shuler more than 4 years ago

Conciliation & Voting

I have been deeply pondering this issue recently, but have focused more on the actual voting process. My thoughts probably originated in my reflections on our current national political situation, but they are equally applicable to the ongoing debate in the UMC that seems to be leading inexorably toward the dissolution of our denomination. Put simply and briefly, the idea is that the biggest part of our problem is the very process itself that we have put in place for making decisions at every level.

The idea that "truth" or right doctrine or correct moral and theological positions can be determined by a simple majority vote (50% + 1) strikes me as absurd. It makes me wonder if we have simply adopted that practice from tradition without adequately thinking about its consequences or its appropriateness for who we are. In close votes on essential matters in a winner-take-all system, the only possible outcomes are bitterness, hurt feelings, and alienation. Some of us end up inevitably end up as losers. Whether it is the intention or not, the majority ends up tyrannizing the minority, regardless of which side constitutes the majority.

But do we really need to go about our business in this way? Is this process truly the best we can come up with? And most importantly, do the process and its outcomes adequately reflect who we are and how we are called to live and work together? When we're voting on matters that are strictly nuts & bolts, dealing with quantifiable stuff, maybe this is the best we can do. But when seeking to discern God's will for the Church and to articulate statements about morals and beliefs, surely we need something much closer to a consensus. Is it wise for us to settle for such an unsatisfying outcome? Shouldn't the majority place greater value on the wisdom and insight of the minority and wish for a stronger sense of the rightness of a policy or position than is reflected in eking out a narrow "victory" in the vote count?

Someone will surely ask, "What do we do if no consensus or at least a super majority can be reached?" In such a case, maybe the best and most faithful outcome is that we say nothing, rather than commit ourselves and our denomination to policies and propositions which a sizable portion of our brothers and sisters in Christ deeply oppose. What's the worst that could happen? We would say less, but maybe we would love more. And personally, I think that might be something God would find pleasing.

Keith A. Jenkins more than 4 years ago

Here's the answer to what is being proposed

"To simply affirm theological diversity, when it is widely known that we do not, for a variety of reasons, undertake the hard work of doctrinal examination, is an invitation to madness. There is nothing open-minded about an indifference to truth. Instead, it is the very substance of the “speculative latitudinarianism” that Wesley’s condemned in his oft-quoted/oft-misappropriated sermon “Catholic Spirit.”"


Furthermore, you said this proposal was :analogous to a business theory popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s that gave employees the power to analyze their work processes and make decisions on how to improve their performance." The way that is worded leads me to believe it was a passing thought that had no staying power. Why bother to base the church's future on some past business fad?

Betsy more than 4 years ago

Absolutely brilliant

Let us just acknowledge in writing that we don't know who we are and what it is we think we need to be doing. Does anybody really think that will keep the church together and reverse almost 50 years of uninterrupted numerical decline? The world does not need a muddled Wesleyan message, it needs a clearly spoken one!

Betsy more than 4 years ago

Prevent Schism

I assume he means that same sex marriage is non-essential and local policy will determine how that is handled. What that will do is bring a bitter denominational fight to the local church. Our leaders would wash their hands and let the people have what they want. Once the local decision is made the local church will be the unit that splits. It is schism in practice if not in name. This is a congregational model. Of course once the local church decides about gay marriage and splits it will then make local policy about other matters such as apportionments. Once this process gets started it will rapidly run to the obvious end point. The so called Methodist connectionalism will be gone. Do not think for a minute that our various missions we have in common today will survive intact.

Kevin more than 4 years ago

Your argument is not supported

It is merely a series of assertions which presupposes the writer's self-concept as a self-styled clairvoyant like the old syndicated TV performance artist "The Amazing Kreskin" or the D.C. society matron Jeanne Dixon who predicted Nixon would beat Kennedy in 1960.

George Nixon Shuler more than 4 years ago

I like it if....

1. Each church gets to chose its own pastor,
2. Apportionments are voluntary
3. Each local church is the owner of its own building.

In Christ,

The enemy hates clarity

the enemy hates clarity more than 4 years ago