Flawed #UMC Arguments Against Changing LGBTQ Policies



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I read this article and see agreement with about 30% of the points presented. I also seem apparent contradictions. I personally have been torn on the issue of homosexual practice. But the issues that divide us are far deeper than the theological arguments covered in this article. So here is my own reaction as a layperson.

Since GC19 the vitriol and stereotyping of traditionalists has been evident on billboards, press releases and other public forums. It seems not to matter that UMC traditionalists hold the same opinions regarding homosexuality as Catholics, Orthodoxy, worldwide Protestantism, Islam and other faith groups that we respect. The attacks on traditionalists have been bitter and personal.
“Centrism” as represented by the OCP was openly viewed as the same “transition plan” followed by other U.S. mainline churches toward “full inclusion”. One only need read the Reconciling Movement site and other ministry sites to see the obvious. I respect their position as it is justice based as much as was slavery in an earlier era, but that means that cannot compromise on an issue that serious. The OCP could not bring peace to the church.

We stereotype young people, but young people and others do not relate well to hierarchical organizations that are out of touch with a majority of the membership, including diverse organizations headed mostly by “old white privileged men and women”. Among young people there is greater acceptance of homosexual marriage than among older members, but there are more active young people in churches of traditional teaching than in the mainline churches. Of course we forget that marketing to any group doesn’t matter. Theology does.

Finally, there appears to be a condescending attitude toward our African brothers and sisters who are underrepresented at GC and in the number of bishops proportionate to membership. There even have been warnings of financial consequences if they supported the Modified Traditional Plan, as if money guides the gospel.

Of course, my viewpoint will convince no one. So hopefully we can collaborate on areas of common ministry and perhaps respect each other someday. Regardless of which side leaves the UMC let's do it peacefully without undue complexity other than meeting existing financial and pension obligations. No one is winning except our mutual adversaries.

Lawrence Kreh more than 2 years ago

Good job!

An excellent pragmatic assessment of the situation. But hey, let's keep up the righteous war. And I can add one more point: Given the vitriolic response of American progressives and centrists to GC2019, it is pretty obvious that the only unity that was possible for progressives and centrists was one that did not violate their conscience but it was OK that it violated the conscience of traditionalists. Progressives really need to stop the pretense of pretending that traditionalists really have something to contribute to the conversation; get real you are only inclusive of those who agree with you and traditionalists are a thorn in your side.

betsy more than 2 years ago

One Methodist's response.

I understand that Traditionalists have a valid theological perspective.
But I see it as very un-Methodist to force that perspective on others. I would say the same thing to people who casually dismiss the Traditionalists entirely.
Do Traditionalists really think it's inclusive to force out the LGBT pastors that are already part of the UMC? Likewise, do people who casually dismiss the views and concerns of the Traditionalists really think they're doing anything productive by doing so?
The US already has a faith crisis, and prohibiting LGBT marriage entirely won't help that, because there are many otherwise faithful individuals who will be unable to reconcile this ban with their own experience, and will thus reject Christ entirely; it's an established pattern not only in Christianity but in other religions in the US, including even the relatively fledgling US Muslim community, not only on this issue but on others as well, if the community is too inflexible.
It's not really that people are sceptical of religion, or God, or anything. Most Irreligious Americans still believe in God, and they often still believe in heaven, hell and many Christian values, but they don't identify as Christians because they feel the various denominations are out of step with their own professed values and/or what is just and right. Thus, there are many people that would be Christian but aren't. Are we trying to drive them away by disallowing any Methodist from considering their perspectives valid?
Likewise, we need to avoid violating Traditionalists' conscience. Honestly, I think that they definitely can make a theological argument in favor of their position. But so can Progressives with their position.
One reason that there was as much bitterness and disappointment may have been that the OCP didn't force any congregation to accept LGBT activity. Centrists and Progressives thought that this provision would've persuaded enough Traditionalists to support the OCP that it would pass. The bitterness isn't necessarily at Traditionalists, but is more general disappointment at the failure of what was an enormous effort to, in their eyes, make the Church a more inclusive, welcoming, modern place that everyone could comfortably belong to, but this can be lost on Traditionalists.
Many people in favor of the OCP have no problem with Traditionalists. They have a problem only with one group of people forcing their perspectives on others.
Traditionalists may feel as though they were forced into accepting LGBT in violation of their conscience, but Centrists and Progressives don't think so. This is the fundamental conflict in the UMC today. If the UMC resolves this conflict, it will stand; otherwise, it will split into many different, much weaker denominations, hamstringing social justice campaigns around the world. What a shame that would be.
I'm sorry if that seemed dismissive or condescending. I meant nothing of the sort.

RGD more than 2 years ago

Two comments

1. The author decries hipocrisy yet faults the strengthening of sanctions. Is it not hypocrisy to have rules that are regularly disobeyed with no consequences?
2. When Wesley disagreed with Anglican practices, he left and started a new denomination. Why don't Progressives do just that?

Dave more than 2 years ago

An excellent analogy of the future of the UMC

At the Denali Visitor Center in Alaska there are the skeletons of two bull elk, who fought against each other so intently they interlocked their horns. Neither could disengage from the other, so both died interlocked with their opponent. If we United Methodists cannot find a way to peacefully disengage from our conflict, we may severely damage the mission and ministry of The United Methodist Church for decades to come. https://united.edu/president-millard-umc-general-conference/

betsy more than 2 years ago


Here is an analysis of the flawed arguments of progressives for changing the policy.
The more the UMC tries to stay together with its competing and contradictory arguments, the more irrelevant it becomes.

betsy more than 2 years ago