General Conference 2019: Myths and Realities

Retired Bishop Analyzes Beliefs

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For a Good Relationship With God

The Methodist Church has always supported moral living. People really need to accept this if they want a good relationship with God. As Miles McPherson said of the Bible “If you want a good relationship with God, obey the rules; if you don't want a good relationship with God, don't worry about the rules.”

Skipper 56 days ago

One group may have been seeking unity

But it was a version of unity that was acceptable in their eyes only; it ignored the other group who clearly stated multiple times that that particular form of unity was not going to be acceptable for them. Talk about marginalizing people.

Traditionalists take our beliefs as seriously as anybody else and we are not a "dying breed". Our understanding of church questions the embracing of something that did not originate from within the church but rather in the culture at large. And our hesitancy is magnified because this is the first time that Christianity has even thought about legitimizing same gender relationships as being within God's will for us. And then there is the reality that this discussion may have started with same gender relationships but it has become very clear that this new sexuality ethic does not stop with same gender relationships but is ever evolving to include other expressions of sexuality and there does not seem to be any end in sight.



Just maybe if good-hearted and well-intentioned leadership had sat down with traditionalists and really listened to them as equals who simply believe differently from progressives just maybe something different would have gone down in St. Louis.

betsy 57 days ago

Hatred Ensconced in BoD

"Just maybe if good-hearted and well-intentioned leadership had sat down with traditionalists and really listened to them as equals who simply believe differently from progressives just maybe something different would have gone down in St. Louis." - betsy

As "equals"? Seriously? Traditionalists formally labeled GLBT folk as second-class citizens in the Book of Discipline (BoD). How can we sit down and listen to you "as equals"?!

The Traditionalists set up their battle lines in 1972 when they inscribed GLBT hatred in the Book of Discipline. How are we supposed to assume the goodwill of Traditionalists who are actively hurting others? How are GLBT individuals to feel safe with any of you 'in the room'?

For Pete's sake, you want us all dead. Yes, it's true; when you label GLBT as sinners, with gay sexuality as "incompatible with Christianity", you are saying that G-d will punish us with Eternal Damnation. You are wishing us dead!

And that is what you brought into 2019. Not goodwill but hatred and a death sentence.

Discrimination is a key to Evangelical Christianity: race, gender, and now sexuality. Don't you recall fighting and splitting the church over the topic of full inclusion for African Americans? What about over the right of women to be ordained? Come on now; Evangelicals always must have one brand of discrimination in the fire.

Get over it, and then we will have something to talk about AS EQUALS.

Ben U 56 days ago

My critique was not of progressives

Or your beliefs because I absolutely respect your right to believe differently than me and will defend your right to do so while standing firm in my own beliefs.

My critique is of church leadership who continually refuses to see that the problem is not that we disagree but that two opposing, conflicting, contradictory understandings are trying very unsuccessfully to occupy the same space.

Get over your anger at me simply because I disagree with your understanding of God and what God intends for your life and then we can have a conversation as equals because we are all equally flawed humans trying to live our lives the best we can.

betsy 55 days ago

Incorrect

My anger at you and your traditionalist friends is not over your understanding of G-d and his rules. My anger is based upon almost 50 years of discrimination at the hands of UMC traditionalists, as documented in the Book of Discipline.

When I was a child in the sixties, Methodism was a big tent. Sure, we had our disagreements, but no one came out and formalized them in the Book of Discipline.

That changed in 1972, when traditionalists wrote their interpretations into the BoD and said, "You people are scum."

You do not believe I am your equal, as evidenced in the BoD, so how can we sit down like equals? Are you listening to yourself?

Now, for the kicker: I was born this way. That's right; I was born with ambiguous genitalia. I am not, biologically, either male or female. G-D MADE ME THIS WAY, but you are going to try to tell me that I am sinful and going to Hell? G-D didn't say this, you did.

G-d made me the way I am. Get over it, treat me like a human being and then we can sit down and talk as equals.

B 51 days ago

Hey Betsy

There are a lot of passages in the BoD that don't fit with your viewpoint. Here's two:

We seek for every individual opportunities and freedom
to love and be loved, to seek and receive justice, and to practice
ethical self-determination. We understand our gender diversity to
be a gift from God, intended to add to the rich variety of human
experience and perspective...


We affirm that sexuality is God’s good
gift to all persons. We call everyone to responsible stewardship of
this sacred gift.

But I'd separately like to address this line:

"And then there is the reality that this discussion may have started with same gender relationships but it has become very clear that this new sexuality ethic does not stop with same gender relationships but is ever evolving to include other expressions of sexuality and there does not seem to be any end in sight."

Yes, there is more under the sun than was dreamt of when the Bible was written. We can actually fly around the world, we can put men on the Moon (and, presumable, Mars soon), we have robots and guns and automobiles and we can do surgery in the mother's womb to save an unborn child and we can talk to each other across the continent and we can engage in national democracy.

None of that is in the Bible.

Things that are? Slavery, women not speaking in church, butchery (go reread the Samson story), treachery (Esau?) among many other things. Love, most importantly.

This road to Damascus that you are on? I wish you could remove the scales from your eyes and SEE.


JR 56 days ago

Can't you see it?

Look at the vitriol expressed towards Betsy in your and Ben's responses. Can't we agree that it's long past time to stop pretending we can live amicably under the same roof? We have little common understanding of what basic terms like holiness, salvation, and redemption mean. Worse, we disagree on who Jesus is, why He came, and what He requires of us. It is insanity to continue this war and pretend that either side is going to budge.

Paul W. 56 days ago

I agree, Paul

I'm not sure vitriol is the right word; certainly frustration is there. Betsy leans pretty fundamentalist where I do not.

And a split is in the best interests, here. There are hard parts - UMCOR and the other programs that rely on a full denomination to support - but that would have to be worked out in any negotiations.

I was more in favor of the Connectional Conference option than the OCP in any case, as these seem to be irreconcilable differences - it feels like we wasted a lot of time and effort.

JR 56 days ago

Yes, it does feel like a lot of wasted time and effort.

A form of the connectional conference plan could be taken up by either conservative conferences (Texas AC is May 28 then they go pretty rapidly through about June 8) or progressive conferences (June 14th and after). Liberal conferences are spread throughout that time period and will likely stand pat no matter what.

The conservatives and progressives within our denomination have conspired to make this a viable option. They may be correct that it is the best way forward. Or they may just be selfish and think they will like a church that validates their politics, and for the clergy, provides better chances for promotions. We'll see.

Anonymous 55 days ago

Vitriol?

Progressives did not enter statements into the Book of Discipline disparaging and denigrating traditionalists. Traditionalists, on the other hand, entered ensconced hatred of GLBTI people into the Book of Discipline.

I have no problem with your bigotry. I do have a problem with your open, documented hatred of me, as represented in the BoD.

I have been living with your hatred of me since 1972, when I was just a child. Can you not understand how much you are hurting me?

We sang as little Methodist children, "And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love." Where is the love? All I feel and have known since 1972 is your hate.

G-d made me the way I am, ambiguous genitalia and all. How dare you treat me like dirt?

B 51 days ago

She sees just fine

No need to attack Betsy. She speaks with a certain clarity and I like the way she thinks.

Kevin 56 days ago

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