Laity and Voting in the #UMC General Conference. Stop It.



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A critical Issue

I think you are right in identifying the vote of laity in the Annual and General Conferences was a critical turning point in Methodist history. It effectively nullified what remained of a succession of apostolic authority and put forward a radically different understanding of those in whom Christ vested the fundamental authority to determine the meaning of the incarnation. A populist religion, which is what Methodism had become by 1939, with popular vote is bound to track changing social values pretty closely. It isn't surprising that ordination of women and the acceptance of divorce and remarriage among clergy - both decisive breaks from Christian tradition, followed within a couple of decades. The current crisis over LGBTQ persons is simply the next logical realm of debate. It is more contentious because it is more contentious in US society. But not different in kind. But I won't offer an opinion as to whether this is good or bad.

Robert more than 5 years ago


I am of a mixed mind regarding this situation. As 1 Peter 2:9a notes, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people..." which leads me to believe any person asserting an intermediary authority over individuals between the individual and deity is acting abusively, asserting power and control over others for his or her own dominance. We are not bound to any prince, potentate, or pope in our spiritual journey and as a faith tradition whose origins come from The Enlightenment we should not truck with spiritual abuse. The pastoral-parishioner relationship is always voluntary and always revocable by either party without notice.

That said, it cannot be failed to be noticed that our clergy are by and large as a body more progressive than our laity. If such a change would speed up our joining the 21st Century on the most basic human rights issues, I would welcome it. I'm a pragmatist. Such a change would certainly limit the appeals of religious extremist satraps in our midst.

George Nixon Shuler more than 7 years ago

Clergy making all the important decisions?

So far the clergy - more specifically are making very good decisions. Our bishops are divided. Your article speaks of clergy leading, thus far I'm not seeing our leadership taking any firm stands. It's kind of hard to lead if you're all over the place in your teachings and guidance. It's been my experience that if it were not for the Laity not a lot would get done in our denomination. My answer is - if you're gonna lead, then lead. If not, get out of the way and follow.

Gene D Mims more than 7 years ago