The Holdouts Keep the Church in the Trenches



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resistance to justice is futile

A few generations ago, Governor George Wallace of Alabama said, "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." He had to eat those words. Denying ordination and marriage to Methodist gays will be as successful as racial segregation in the Methodist Church and the US was.

jeff more than 8 years ago


Holdouts are heroes; The Alamo, Wake Island, Thermopylae, England. “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” Winston Churchill

Kevin more than 8 years ago

On the other hand

Holding out can be an incredibly futile and stupid gesture.

George Nixon Shuler more than 8 years ago


Chief Joseph, Masada. Examples of futile resistance. And yet we remember them today as inspiring. Today's stupid gesture might be tomorrow's inspiration.

Kevin more than 8 years ago

Great! But my first reaction is...

...."and?" You've given us a great theory. Now give us the practice!

George Nixon Shuler more than 8 years ago

I Agree With the Sentiment, But....

Jeremy, you are fighting the wrong battle on the LGBT front. The fight is much older than full acceptance of our LGBT brothers and sisters, and also newer as well.

Acceptance of the "Practice of homosexuality" is the titular issue, but the real issue always has been, and remains, "the Authority of Scripture." Since that has been a lodestone of our beliefs since canonization of the Scriptures, this is a battle that will, too, wax and wane but never go away.

The newer battle is that we sent missionaries out to make The United Methodist Church an international church, and they succeeded beyond anyone's wildest imagination. We are fast approaching the day when there will be more members of the UMC OUTSIDE of the United States than inside the U.S. These people were taught the theologies of the missionaries who first went to what we now politely call "third world countries" more than a century ago. They taught those new members the theology of their time, and it was embraced by the new members. The fact that we in the U.S. have moved on beyond those theologies is immaterial to them: they want to "protect" their understanding of the Christian faith which we long since abandoned.

What happens when the "holdouts" are in the majority, both with those from the Central Conferences and the conservatives in the United States?

I'm sorry, but I think we are in for a long siege of trench warfare.

Tom Griffith more than 8 years ago

There's several problems here

....with your comments, first and foremost, homosexuality is not and never has been a "practice" and the position that it is is not evidence-based.

Then you say the issue will never go away. Well, did slavery? Granted, there are still de facto slaves, mostly sex workers and other forced laborers, and some like Phillipine servants of our erstwhile "allies" in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its neighboring sheikhdoms. But de jure slavery is more unacceptable than it ever has been. And what about interracial marriages? Even Bob Jones University made progress on that front. So your conclusion LGBT rights issues "will never go away" is either your wishful thinking or not a very factually formed opinion.

And you invoke our African brethren. You seem to want to believe they are incapable of change. Never discount the forces of change in the human community. One hundred years ago, Americans of Irish, Italian, Jewish, Polish, and various other immigrant communities in the U.S. were insular and closed, as were Appalachian folks. Now, their integration into the American ethnic salad bowl is taken for granted. I had a high school friend who is Chinese-American. His mother's fondest hope was he would marry a Chinese girl. Well, long story short, he married an Hispanic, and his son married a daughter of Indian immigrants. He didn't bat an eye. The world is changing so much more than you and I know. In 2030 these struggles over the lives of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters will seem quaint. The African heterosexism is unique. It's more about the nature of oppression than anything missionaries generations ago taught Africans. As Kris Khristofferson noted, "everybody needs somebody to look down on." The bulk of the present day activist African heterosexism is induced by elements like the extreme fundamentalist Americans like Scott Lively who come to Africa bearing gifts with strings attached. Our African Methodist heterosexists are just adopting the default position because they believe it's required for their survival. Contrast that to the acceptance of LGBTQs in South Africa, a more advanced nation than Uganda or Nigeria but not without its problems. Thoughtful people in Africa look to their Southern neighbor for their future, not 19th Century whites.

George Nixon Shuler more than 8 years ago