St Louis as a 'Damascus Road' Conversion

Why Many United Methodists are Appalled by the So-Called-Traditional Plan, Dismayed by the Actions of our Friends in the Conservative Renewal and Reform Coalition, and Newly Awakened from our Ecclesial Slumber



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Regarding infractions & penalties

I believe most "traditionalists" (in the current sense of the word) find this comment very misleading:

"...the harsh mandatory minimum penalties (suspension without pay for a first offense and loss of ordination credential for a second), and for only one infraction – officiating at the marriage of same-gender couples. "

Surely any clergy who commit adultery or thievery ought to be subject to the full penalty of a robust law. If they are found guilty and repent, perhaps there is grace for them, but Traditionalists do not believe that UMC laws should be narrowly confined or applied. Suggesting otherwise does seem ingenuous to me.

David more than 2 years ago

Regardless of what you believe...

... this is true. There is only one offense listed in the BoD (proposed) that has a minimum penalty assigned to it.

And that specifically is for officiating at a wedding.

JR more than 2 years ago

Penalties should exist for all infractions

I defer to your knowledge of the BoD, but am confused... If you are telling me that a pastor can commit adultery or bigamy or pedophilia etc. and not become immediately subject to some kind of established minimum penalty, it's no wonder the UMC have so many problems.
In any case, my point stands - true Traditionalists would support disciplinary considerations for each and every kind of sin, not just for some.

David more than 2 years ago

Hi David

Here's a link for the BoD 2016 (the new changes have not been added):

There was a proposal at GC2019 to add some other typical items to the 'banned from ministry'
list, it got shot down - so it seems you've hit a One True Scotsman fallacy.

JR more than 2 years ago

When the mob doesn't agree with you, stall.

The positive of Traditional Plan is it took the wind out of the Leave movement within the conservative conferences. Haven't heard anything from the current Texas Annual Conference. I don't think the Progressive conferences will vote to leave in a couple of weeks.

I think the dissolution would involve breaking up based on conference. That doesn't solve anyone's problem, so that means any GC solution would require a constitutional amendment. I don't see that happening.

I think we need more Local Pastors and fewer doctorates and masters degrees.

Anonymous more than 2 years ago

maybe, but...

in my experience the local pastors are about the same as those with a divinity degree. The UMC really has no commitment to teaching the historic faith- either to its clergy or its members.

td more than 2 years ago

And once again, a prominent church person

Is all about the harm done to LGBTQIA++++ and totally ignore the harm being done to rank and file traditionalists by progressives. As she is pointing the finger to traditionalists, there are most definitely 3 fingers pointing back to herself. I am tired of people being angry at me and calling me all sorts of name simply because I disagree with them! And for the record, I agree that the traditionalists caucuses went too far with the accountability measures simply because they are completely lost on progressives who have the most skewed understanding of early Methodism in general, including the stringent accountability measures that were in place--you either worked within the guidelines or you were not a Methodist. Accountability has been part of Methodism's DNA from the get go. And as far as not addressing any other sins, progressives are responsible for that too because they have made sexuality and only sexuality the do or die issue for the church and until that is resolved--which requires abiding by the decision of general Conference--we cannot move on to anything else. And never once did traditionalists say they wanted to purge the church of LGBTQIOA++++ they only requested that people work within the guidelines or leave. And the hurtful truth of the traditionalist position that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching is the complete and total truth for 2000 years up until now--as are a whole other raft of sins that we are not addressing because progressives are refusing to live within the confines of the decision of General Conference. The word out of traditional caucuses is that we believe differently than progressives; it is progressives who turn that into some sort of perceived harm. The reality is that the fact that the UMC has degenerated into conflicting and contradictory theological factions jockeying for position and control is harming everybody because it leaves the church saying absolutely nothing in particular helpful. If this war does not end, we will have to add a new line to the questions asked of new members: "Which version of Untied Methodism do you ascribe to?"

betsy more than 2 years ago


"....the harm being done to rank and file Traditionalists." My, oh my. Harm?! I don't see Traditionalists being driven to commit suicide on account of the lifelong reality of being excluded and declared unworthy and incompatible with Christian identity. I don't see Traditionalists being kicked out of homes and workplaces on account of their very selfhood. I don't see hate crimes being committed against Traditionalists on account of who they are. What I do see is whining, and a distorted sense of what it means to be put in harm's way.

Follower of Jesus more than 2 years ago

Regarding point 5

Lambrecht still advocates 'pray the gay away' therapy.

JR more than 2 years ago

Doubling down on the same arguments she's already stated

This is still disingenuous. She asks why homosexual behavior is being singled out in the Traditional Plan when she knows the answer: There are no other sins that other groups are trying to normalize and refusing to enforce our rules against! Also, I don't know everything about her theology, but I would bet dollars to donuts that she is not a theological conservative as she tries to insinuate here; her approach and arguments clearly assume a progressive hermeneutic. I'll see her on the Articles of Religion and raise with Wesley's Sermons, Notes on the New Testament, and Letters! Good luck arguing for her position on those terms! Game On indeed!

Paul W. more than 2 years ago

Game on!

Game on! I'm ready!

Rebekah Miles more than 2 years ago

But other 'sins' have already been normalized

Cutting your beard
Women speaking in church

That's not even including things like selling your daughter into slavery, killing impudent children, etc.

...or 'old school' rules against alcohol, gambling, dancing, etc.

Society has changed, and Christians have changed right along with it - without any Biblical justification for those changes.

Don't stop with just the LGBTQ+ thing. Get the whole kit and kaboodle in place. I'd love you to bring your 'Game On' into play with a list of all the stuff that you need to include to make the modern UMC fully compatible with all the documentation that you are suggesting. Step up.

Anonymusing more than 2 years ago

Damascus road

Dr, Miles is a dedicated Christian, a fine scholar and an incredible asset to Perkins School of Theology. She also rightly identifies serious issues with the BOD that reflects the Traditional Plan as passed, especially the punitive emphasis and singling out one set of behaviors for the Boards of Discipleship to pursue, rather than greed, gluttony, porn and the like. What she misses is the depth of reaction to the contempt many traditional clergy and members have experienced from more progressive colleagues. At GC2016 a good number of conservatives affirmed a 'way forward' approach, trusting in a truce and suspension of provocation to enable the Commission on the Way Forward to work. Then the WJ elects Karen Oliveto to be a bishop, unanimously, a clear signal that theological diversity had been scrubbed from an entire jurisdiction. Keeping faith with conservatives was unnecessary, and they read it as an act of contempt. Can Dr. Miles say something about that? Bishop Talbert rightly is praised for his leadership on civil rights, and his courageous willingness to suffer jail for a just cause. As bishop his actions to 'clean out' conservative clergy who protested his disregard for church teaching on sexuality that led to their departure receives no mention, proving a fine and courageous man in one area also can show contempt in another. Who speaks for those who affirm the traditional idea of Christian marriage in regions where they have been marginalized and politely excluded from any meaningful role in conference leadership? Without taking back anything she said in her article, Dr. Miles has the credibility and cache to critique left as well as right, which was part of dream once shared by two very improbable allies, Albert Outler and Ed Robb in creating the John Wesley Fellow scholarship. The fruit of their collaboration is reflected in Dr. Miles' ministry. Go the distance, critique and correct and guide BOTH sides, for both sides need it.

bob more than 2 years ago