Temper-Tantrums or Conversation? #UMC



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I have been listening...

to a myriad of voices for several years; at times I have lobbed my own explosive response. Along the way, however, a perception of the UMC has emerged. Here are my thoughts on the current state of the UMC. I am a lifelong Methodist who would dearly love for her to survive:

The church has long drifted from her unique message and method which has allowed all sorts of understandings to creep in. The "U" no longer stands for united but unhinged or untied.

People are frustrated and talking past each other because there is more than one perspective of what it means to be a Methodist; people are talking apples and oranges to each other.

The church has become untied in the sense the need for a proper balance between the individual vs the social aspects of Christianity has been lost. The UMC has become too much about the social--supporting the mission of the church--to the almost complete neglect of the transformation of the individual. The liberal/progressives focus on social justice as the end all goal of church is the extreme.

It is inappropriate to use Wesley as a model for someone who wanted to make social change; all he set out to do was to explore what it meant to live a holy life centered in God and that led him to unexpected places. Methodism is not in existence because Wesley identified social justice issues that needed to be addressed. Quite the opposite, Wesley was passionate about individuals being transformed by the grace of God resulting in transformed lives regardless of or in spite of their worldly circumstances. The result of transformation would be varied and for some would promote the desire to address social justice issues but remembering we live in a broken and imperfect world.

There is a grave misunderstanding of the church's relationship to society that has its roots in the civil rights movement in which the church partnered with the government to end segregation. Sure legislation brought about change, but did it truly rid the world of discrimination? As Philip Yancy so powerfully points out in "What is So Amazing About Grace", legislative action can produce external change, but only the grace of God can change the heart of how one person views another. Helping individuals engage the grace of God is the church's primary job; especially a church with its roots in Methodism.

Currently, the UMC has no unique contribution to make to the Christian landscape; without that, she might as well shut it all down and leave it to those that are experiencing success: Wesleyan Church and Assemblies of God which has been characterized as doing what the UMC only talks about.

A true understanding of Wesley does not permit the use of "The Catholic Spirit" to support the existence of the UMC in its current confused, unhinged, untied state.

I love the concept of true Methodism and if the UMC will reacquaint herself with why she is in existence, she will have a wonderful earth-changing contribution to make.

Orter T. more than 7 years ago

Methodism without social justice

Is a betrayal of the Wesleyan heritage. A church without a commitment to social justice is not only anti-Wesleyan, it's anti-Christian. As the Unitarian minister-poet Ric Masten said in "Talk About:" "...Before we can even begin to talk about peace/Let's talk about/Let's talk about/Something to eat."

George Nixon Shuler more than 7 years ago