I Stepped Down as Worship Leader to Protest UMC Discrimination



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Thank You!

Thank you for standing on principle in a God-Centered way! Thank you!! We need more people like you!

eric more than 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing

I support you, Grant, in your decision to act on your conscience and admire you and those like you who take this issue seriously enough to make the difficult choices that sometimes involves leaving the church you love. I wish you well on your faith journey. Thank you for sharing your unique perspective.

Beth Plachta more than 2 years ago

Grant McClendon

Mr. McClendon fails to note that all people are SELECTIVE literalists. How? His comments are full of Biblical selections which support his argument. Yes folks proLGBTI+ people are liberalists - selective literalists that is. What he and all those at General Conference failed to make mention of is the Bible's wisdom and admonitions regarding money. Here's an idea: No one can be a bishop or GenConf delegate unless than can prove they've been a tither on the gross for at least a decade! Repaying stupid student loans to Christian colleges and seminary don't count. Just sayin'. Thank you, Richard F Hicks, a tither on the gross since 1979.

Richard Hicks more than 2 years ago

I have distanced myself

Because the UMC has become too theologically fractured and therefore is unable to come to any amicable solution to deal with the underlying problem that has led to sexuality being the flash point: theological plurality run amuck. Theological plurality run amuck is also why the church has not been able to embrace a comprehensive understanding of our inherent sin and brokenness for a very long time.

betsy more than 2 years ago

Might be correct

Fundamentalism doesn't have a lot of room for reason, experience to come into play. Therefore it's not really Wesleyan, so it's probably a good thing that you've distanced yourself.

(1) Scripture, (2) tradition, (3) reason, and (4) experience. While all of those don't HAVE to take equal weight on all topics, one should not ignore aspects of them. So - if Wesley included reason and experience as part of his basic theological values; and since reason and experience have a range of outputs for every individual; therefore there will be a certain amount of 'theological spread' based on the 4 aspects of the Quadrilateral.

Fundamentalism doesn't allow for that kind of spread.

JR more than 2 years ago

Wesley was just a man. Cultural traditions and moralities pre-date even Jesus

WWWD - "What would Wesley Do?" is not the issue for me and I suspect several others. Our culture and every religion I know of, have condemned homosexuality since forever. I am concerned about the unraveling moral fabric of my culture and I will not legitimize something that my forefathers have condemned.
Those of us who depended on our churches, any denomination, to be the rocks on which our cultures' morality is built have been abandoned. We cannot win, but I will not submit.

Reese more than 2 years ago

Fixed it for you

"Our culture and every religion I know of, have condemned homosexuality since forever."

This is not correct. While this is seen as conventional wisdom in fundamentalist circles, it is in fact erroneous. The origin of the antigay movement was in the Era Of Joseph McCarthy, who spread fear of communist agents and homosexuals in government bureaucracies for political gain. The prime leader of this movement after Mccathy lost his potency due to his corruption being revealed was the self-hating homosexual J. Edgar Hoover.

"I am concerned about the unraveling moral fabric of my culture and I will not legitimize something that my forefathers have condemned."

This comment is not congruent with reality. LGBT folks are paragons of virtue compared to criminals like Our President and his minions, which religious right forces elected in their drive to exercise power and control over normal folks.

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago

Wow! Who Knew that Joseph McCarthy said these things first?!

I thought these quotes were among those under which we correctly founded our morals…
1 Timothy 1:8-11 8We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers-and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
Leviticus 20:13-15 13"'If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. 14"'If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you. 15"'If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he is to be put to death, and you must kill the animal.
All this time, we had no idea that Joseph McCarthy espoused these things first! Thanks George Nixon Shuler! This won’t change me “fundamentally”, but I just feel so smart now…

Reese more than 2 years ago


You utterly failed to advocate for your position. I am not impressed with that whining. You are merely advocating a nostalgia for that which never was, an idealized past which never occurred. McCarthy was merely the most celebrated prevaricator in this matter, but your assertions are no different than his demagoguery.

George Nicon Shuler more than 2 years ago

Very correct

To reference fundamentalism within a Wesleyan context is to create a straw man. Fundamentalism and Wesleyan theology are like oil and water. Their hermeneutics are incompatible with each other; ironically the epistemological underpinnings of fundamentalism is similar to that of most progressive theology--thoroughly rooted in the rationalist assumptions of the European Enlightenment.

Please understand that the four aspects of the so-called Wesleyan Quadrilateral are NOT weighted equally--scripture is primary. The quadrilateral is often mis-taught as a square, with four equal sides--a better analogy is a three-legged stool with scripture as the seat. Tradition is the cumulative doctrine and practice of the church over two thousand years, Reason is obviously the application of rational thinking, and Experience is the assurance of salvation--that we have been adopted as children of God. Experience is not the broader, general, day-to-day experiences of life.

John more than 2 years ago

That is exactly right!

"Experience", particularly, is often misused in the Wesleyan Quadrilateral.

Mike more than 2 years ago

I'm on board...

"Fundamentalism and Wesleyan theology are like oil and water."

Then don't be a fundamentalist. Those folks here that like the 'plain reading' of the Bible to point the way [and I'm specifically looking at betsy here, as she's posted about that before], that's fundamentalism. It's not even honest fundamentalism, as you aren't even looking at the original writings in their original language, you are just taking someone else's translation and defining that as the One True Word.

John, I agree that not all sides should be considered equally - but you can't ignore sides either (eliminating sides of a quadrilateral lead you to a triangle (-1) or a line (-2). And when you apply a little bit of experience and reason to some of those passages, then dig into some of the original language and the meaning (which would be Scriptural), it opens a whole world of different interpretation.

This isn't even hard stuff, there are a number of scholars who have done the hard work. You just have to be open to reading about it.

JR more than 2 years ago

There's still conflation...

of a traditional Wesleyan approach to scripture and a fundamentalist one. Wesley observed, "The general rule of interpreting Scripture is this: the literal sense of every text is to be taken, if it be not contrary to some other texts. But in that case, the obscure text is to be interpreted by those which speak more plainly." We don't toss tradition, reason, and experience aside; but when scripture isn't clear we use them. But we don't use them as a workaround because we don't like what scripture says. I highly recommend a short book called "Square Peg: Why Wesleyans Aren't Fundamentalists" (ed. by Al Truesdale) for a good, straightforward explanation of the epistemological and hermeneutical differences between fundamentalist and orthodox Wesleyan approaches to scripture. Upon a better understanding of all that separates them you might not be so quick to toss around the fundie label. Peace.

John more than 2 years ago

I am not a fundamentlist

I am simply rooted in historical Christian doctrine. And I have spent enough time with John Wesley to know that if such a thing was possible, he would be spinning in his grave at the misuse of the Quadrilateral--something that is the modern invention of Albert Outler who lived to regret that he ever came up with the thing because it became so misused and misunderstood. JOhn Wesley would also be "spinning in his grave" that the United Methodist Church has degenerated into nothing more than theological factions jockeying for position and control, making Christianity a never ending discussion.

Furthermore, John and Charles Wesley did not come up with anything new--they simply delved into 1700+ years of Christianity. The reason Methodism as John Wesley envisioned it exists is because he broke off from the Fetter Lane Society over theological differences started a whole new society at the Foundry; the whole concept of Methodist connectionism began when others decided to connect themselves to John Wesley and his specific set of beliefs. He fully embraced the concept of the holy catholic/universal Church that, while holding some core beliefs in common, was made up of different faith traditions that each held less important beliefs that were at odds with each other. Wesley's understanding of the person of the truly catholic spirit allows for differences in understandings between different faith traditions, not within a single one. In fact, Wesley's sermon, "The Catholic Spirit", is a documentation of why we cannot all be in the same church but we can all be part of the same holy catholic/universal Church--a concept that the United Methodist Church has lost sight of. I suggest you spend quality time with it before you call somebody a fundamentalist simply because they want to be with others who believe as they do. Fundamentalism requires you to believe as I do which I do not. One way we differ in our beliefs is that you require I share a church with you and my beliefs require nothing of the sort. Truth is, progressives and traditionalists would get along better and be more effective if we were not trying to share the same space.

betsy more than 2 years ago

Me Too

I stepped down because I could not abide the hypocrisy of an institution with published rules that were routinely disobeyed, yet the leadership chose to abdicate their responsibility to those rules. I suspect that many others have left for that reason. They probably don't miss me and I don't miss them.

Dave more than 2 years ago

Ah, “Self-impsed Martyrdom” – how sweet. How youthful. How irrelevant

You are aware that millions have left the UMC for a variety of reasons over the last two decades? People like me have put the membership on hold because I just tired of the battle at church forums. Others left for their own reasons. Your leaving will be noticed in your church... for a week or two…
And these meetings you detail, Grant, which indicate you have not fully left, but merely chosen where to fight, are also a waste of time. Any meeting now which is not negotiating the inevitable split is a waste of time and money. We on either side are not negotiable and now, true animosity has set in. Martyrdom might feel good (at least until the day after the next payday), but accepting reality will feel smart.
Stand your ground, but make sure you can pay your bills. God will find you wherever you are.

Reese more than 2 years ago

Just to be clear...

It seems that Reese thinks the deed is done, and all that's left is to cast lots for the clothing. How seasonally apropo.

JR more than 2 years ago

Full agreement

I'm going to be switching churches, stepping down from my involvement in my current UMC church. This summer I'll start at a nearby (soon to be) Reconciled UMC; if I find that one is wanting (I don't expect to, but thought it was worth noting) then I'll move on to another denomination. I'm hoping to find a good fit for where I feel led to stand.

JR more than 2 years ago