Liberals Run Risk in Weaponizing Church Discipline Against Sessions



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Sessions Complaint

While I can understand your perspective on this issue, it seems to me your argument is based on a false equivalency. While both "sides" have now used the UMC's complaint process to call to account individuals who, they believe, are guilty of violating church law or principle, there is a matter of degree that militates against a facile comparison such as yours. Most complaints against LGBTQ ministers or ministers who preside over same-sex weddings have been filed by only a handful of complainants at most (several by the same threesome of conservative clergy), whereas the complaint against Sessions has been brought by over 600 signatories. The fact that most of them are from the Western Jurisdiction is no more relevant than the fact that complainants against LGBTQ clergy are usually from South Central or Southeast.

But even more significant than the vastly larger number of those filing the complaint against Sessions is the difference in the nature of the activity being complained about. The accusations against LGBTQ ministers and ministers presiding over same-sex weddings involve activities that are, strictly speaking, violations of a few provisions in the Book of Discipline, but they are private, personal, legal, and arguably hurt no one. Not so with AG Sessions. His zealous enforcement of policies that are an offense to humanity--not to mention totally antithetical to the primary message of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Lord Jesus Christ--and his attempt to justify these actions through a base misappropriation of scripture harm thousands of people, including helpless, innocent children--the very ones the Bible repeatedly proclaims are God's special concern and demands that we protect. There is no sense in which complaints against these two kinds of activity can be seen as equivalent. Complaints against the former are all about overly fastidious traditionalists being offended by what others are doing. Complaints against the latter are about using the UMC's formal procedures to pursue God's Justice.

Keith A. Jenkins, Ph.D. more than 1 year ago

Like was stated in the article...

Your response shows the difference in how we view sin and its manifestations and your Unite Methodist viewpoint does not represent my United Methodist viewpoint:

"I suppose I should say that it is invigorating to see a renewed concern about sin on the religious left. While all Christians affirm sin as a category, conservatives and liberals disagree about the meaning and manifestations of sin. Liberals see social and collective sin in systemic injustices to a degree that conservatives often do not. Conservatives have an easier time declaring that biblically or ecclesiastically forbidden expressions of sexuality are, in fact, sins."

I believe it is our individual sin that leads to our corporate/societal sins. I also do not believe that we can legislate God's kingdom into existence. Here is a quote from a different article that deals with that as well as why we disagree on immigration issues--not that I want to shut the borders-- but reasonable parameters should prevail including minimizing illegal entry:

"But missing from Bp. Curry’s message is an appreciation of sin, its persistence and its power to corrupt human relationships. His is a prophecy filled with hope, but lacking humility. And in this, he bears false witness to our fallen world. Love is indeed “stronger than death,” as he claims, but death is also the wages of sin. The power of love in this life is limited by the self-pride and self-interest that exists in every human heart.
"…In attempting to translate his prophecy to policy, Bp. Curry advocates for a perfectionist internationalism divorced from the realities of power, division, and sin that mark all human relations. In the “Reclaiming Jesus” manifesto that he and other liberal clergy unveiled during their White House vigil, Bp. Curry argues that “we should love and serve the world and all its inhabitants, rather than seek first narrow, nationalistic prerogatives.” The manifesto goes further by rejecting the Trump administration’s “America First” foreign policy as “theological heresy.” Although this policy is certainly open to criticism, especially regarding its seemingly ethnocentric understanding of Americanism, its implicit recognition of the responsibility of leaders to prioritize the protection of their national neighbors is hardly heresy."

betsy more than 1 year ago

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