Selling 'Confidence,' WCA Reframes the UMC Crisis It Created



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The only winning move is not to play

So now I give to local non-church charities and usually stay home on Sunday mornings to rest from the week. I don't want a solution where leadership flaunts the rules without discipline (and by discipline I mean immediate expulsion for serious infractions). I also don't want a solution where LGBT persons (I don't get the 'Q') are made uncomfortable in a "conservative" congregation oddly full of divorcees and unmarried couples living together.

My kids dropped out of church long ago because it failed to address their issues. They live daily with LGBT people who are *their own age* and are good some ways, their secular circles are more supportive than any youth group ever was...they've already figured it out. But depression is rampant. Biblical knowledge is minimal (I'm partially to blame for that). Holiness is a vague concept from some other century. They have little hope due to huge forces outside of their control. Our legacy stinks because we let culture drive theology.

After living all week in a society that is growing increasingly anti-Christian, anti-white-male, anti-conservative (I fit all those), I don't have the energy left to fight church wars. When the rest of you figure it out, publish something.

Tim more than 3 years ago

"Oh what tangled webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive..."

Dr. Jeremy, you have outdone yourself on this post. You could not be more wrong with your blaming WCA and others for the turmoil in the UMC.

Your closing statement is extra-absurd: “The best way out of this crisis is to remove the obstacles to full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the life of the church by allowing marriage and ordination opportunities. That’s the only way to break this chain of beliefs and actions that have led us to this point…” Evidently, you ignore the demise of the Episcopal Church which went hard-left in 2003. “Full inclusion” has done for them what the Hindenburg did for the flight of dirigibles! Hundreds of closed churches, disbanded parishes, and over $18 MILLION in lawsuits over real estate and assets. Presbyterians have suffered a lesser, but similar fate.

Your assertion that full inclusion of LGBTQ persons would end the UMC crisis ignores wide differences between us on other issues, but we conservatives don’t shout our positions in the name of the UMC regarding the 2nd Amendment, “sanctuary cities”, and other public, political issues. Many UMC liberals and clergy speak endlessly - diametrically to my positions - in the name of the UMC. I want no association with them in any way.

Your premise that WCA started this is equally absurd. My dad was a Methodist leader, often delegate to Conference. I remember his frustrations, and that of our friends, at the liberalism being promoted then – in the 60s and 70s. I never heard of the WCA or any alternative until a few years ago in response to growing liberalism and outright refusal by some UMC leaders and clergy to follow the Book of Discipline. Now that Judicial has abdicated their responsibilities to enforce the rules, why wouldn’t alternatives arise?

My parents left the UMC in the 90s in disgust. They did not wander, they just stayed home. But, when they both retired and moved to a small town, they found a UMC that was mostly like what they had known. They happily returned until their passing. No WCA involved – only that good ol’ Methodism they had lived before. Now, it is my turn to leave in disgust, take my pledge and volunteer hours with me – and it has NOTHING to do with the WCA or any alternative – it is merely my desire for peace and quiet, in the society's long lasting morals. I am willing to change churches, but not my traditions!

Frankly, the WCA is too “church-cliched” and super-theology ad nauseam for me. I guess its just part of the debate where each side is trying to prove their point with Biblical interpretations, but I just want a refuge, a friendly place with inspiring music and a message of hope and salvation within the “built on the rock” moral code my momma and papa taught me. I know what’s right and wrong and I want no more debate at my church than trying to decide what to choose at the covered dish dinner.

Reese more than 3 years ago

Progressives have their own truth

And it is you are right and the rest of us are wrong. The crisis occurred when progressives decided that their conscience trumps what General Conference decides. When General Conference did not give progressives what you wanted, you decided it was time to take matters into your own hands despite the fact that there are those who believe that General Conference has come up with the correct answer.The church is an organization designed to function with Bishops who are willing to carry out the wishes of General Conference--something that has not been happening for a very long time. Bottom line is you have your truths that you live by and the rest of us have our truths. We are learning just how divisive theology can be, especially when we are working from opposing theologies that cancel each other out. Remember, when you point to the WCA as creating a crisis, there are three fingers pointing back at you. Personally, I am glad the WCA finally stood up and is saying enough is enough, it is time to stop the insanity. The United Methodist Church has my loyalty, right up until the moment it endorses same gender relationships and all the other baggage that comes with it.

betsy more than 3 years ago

Ditto what Jeff said

Jeremy's complaint really boils down to the fact that his position demanding that LGBT persons be ordained and be allowed to be "married" in UMC sanctuaries has not been accepted by the majority of those who profess to be UMC members.

Yes, the laity who fund apportionments has reason to distrust the COB which recently directed the Commission on the Way Forward to fine tune proposed Models 2 and 3, thereby symbolically at least eliminating from their consideration any version based on Model 1 and the current Discipline. Those of us who still believe the Discipline until legally changed should be honored and enforced are still waiting for the Northwestern Jurisdiction to follow the direction of our Judicial Council about Bishops and District Superintendents and Clergy who openly flaunt our Discipline.

Those who support Orthodox Church Doctrine did not create the current crisis. You and your supporters, members of RMN and Love Prevails and to some degree Mega Church pasters like Adam Hamilton and his Uniting Methodists brethren have created this crisis by abandoning Orthodox Christian teaching in favor of accommodating contemporary culture, too fearful to be considered a part of a people to be set apart by God to be His people despite the attitudes of contemporary culture.

The schism is already a reality in the UMC. The WCA is simply a reaction to what has already happened. You don't ascribe to the current Book of Discipline which is your right I suppose, but a majority of UMC members in the Global Church do, hence your need to lash out at those who have been unable to follow your path, which Orthodox believers believe is misguided and not supported by Scripture.

Please don't misconstrue what I'm saying. I don't hate you, as you constantly imply. I wish you the very best. But I wish you the best in a Denomination or human organization different than the one to which I choose to belong.

John more than 3 years ago

The Fight

Jeremy, always remember that the WCA did not start this fight. Disobedient LBGT and LGBT-like-minded-clergy and COB members started this fight.

Jeff more than 3 years ago