The Burden Is on Us to Leave

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WOW...some deep implications here

Darren, you say:

"When disgruntled conservatives leave the United Methodist Church they go to another church. But when disillusioned liberals leave the United Methodist Church they stop going to Church."

I agree; it is what I have also observed in 60+ years of living.

I urge you to think about what this says about liberals and their faith. To me, it's something along the lines of "If I can't find a church that salves my conscience about how I choose to live (i.e., if I cannot find a way to make God in my own image), then why go to church at all?"

I know progressives/liberals will disagree vehemently that this is your perspective, but I think those two sentences of your article speak volumes about many theological liberals and their faith.

In any case I hope you will read and re-read them, over and over again, and think about what those statements of yours say for your ministry and about the real spiritual needs of the people you are ministering too.

I don't mean these comments disrespectfully...I really do hope they lead to edifying self examination.

Mark 194 days ago

Jumping into the fiery river of comments...

Here’s what I imagine the Rev. Wood would say to Jesus:
"You know they can’t stand you. They are waiting to arrest you on trumped-up charges for breaking their religious rules.
"And that bit about demonstrating at the Temple? What ARE you thinking! You wanna get us all killed?
"Let's cancel your grand entrance, load up that donkey, and sneak out of Jerusalem while we still can. We could hole up in Galilee and go underground."
Rev. Wood cites Dr. Jack Jackson, Ph.D. with approval. Prof. Jackson does dress up like an academic sheep; he can even sound like one. But in fact his academic sheepskins include two advanced degrees from the non-United Methodist Asbury Theological Seminary. It's the spiritual den of an extremist wolfpack that includes the Reverends Tom Lambrecht, Rob Renfroe, Billy J. Abraham, Keith Boyette, Chris Ritter, and Maxie Dunnam.
This tiny wolfpack has just engineered a hostile takeover of the United Methodist Church. So now, to contain the significant PR damage, they are greasing the skids to slide up to 70% of United Methodist churches in the USA out the back door (and hopefully turn a buck in the process).
First, Jerry Kulah sounds the takeover trumpet; next, Prof. Jack Jackson, sounding like a reasonable, prudent sheep of sorts; and finally, they trot out the pastor of a Reconciling Congregation to play the same tune!
Let’s face it: they want us gone. The sooner the better. That’s their game plan. That would end our witness within the ‘big tent’ by collapsing it and make it much easier for the extremists to refashion a downsized and shrunken United Methodist Church within their non-Wesleyan theological framework. They are much more interested in establishing ‘purity’ than in being responsible for the devastation they will wreak on a fragmented denominational structure.
But let’s face it: the last thing progressives want is to walk away from their witness and to allow the extremists to ‘purify’ the denomination by weeding out its LGBTQ members and ending its ministries within LGBTQ communities.
But just quietly going away is a poor example of a vigorous theological witness.
In the Spring of 2019 and beyond, let this be a season of intentional ministry within the LGBTQ community. Let there be an avalanche of queer weddings perfomed by our clergy in defiance of the Discipline. Let the joyful couples invite their bishops to join them in celebrating their unions.
Let us acknowledge our bishops' hidden grief and spiritual suffering over the failure of the One Church Plan. Now they can join us in opposing the Traditionalist Plan. And if most of our bishops join our noncompliant clergy, there will be far fewer bishops available to preside over the church trials that are sure to follow.
In other words, let us stop the engine of enhanced enforcement in its tracks. And let us say to the GC that it cannot force 70% of American UM's to leave quietly or comply with an authority that fails to protect the rights of a very large minority.

Wayne 198 days ago

Revisionist history

I think the advice to Jesus was "You can't change the Jewish leaders so start a new religion. That is what Jesus did and what Progressives should be doing.

Dave 198 days ago

Times Up

Traditionalists have endured the wayward teaching and poor leadership of progressives for far too long. GC2019 confirmed the majority of UMC members desire an evangelical path toward, not a progressive way forward. The time has come for the two disparate and separate camps to split. As the traditionalists have the majority, it is they who should stay and the progressives who should leave.

Too much time, efforts and prayer has been expended trying to keep us together. It’s not going to happen. Times up.

Even Jesus knew when his time had come to an end. Or, do progressives not believe that portion of the Bible either.

Steve 198 days ago

Is this really helpful?

Wayne, is your call to defiance and anarchy really helpful in moving both sides forward? Or does your agenda have nothing to do with the well -being of Wesleyan believers and everything with your personal agenda of forcing acceptance of you lifestyle choice by those who just are not going to accept it as consistent with God’s word? What do you have against an amicable separation?

John 197 days ago

Episcopalian Merger

Perhaps progressives should bring back the possibility of a merger with the Episcopal Church. Since the 1840s a discussion of this has occurred numerous times. It appears that perhaps as much as half the US Methodists are progressive. At least half the clergy are.
There are no major theological differences. They've already worked out the Apostolic Succession problem. And it wouldn't hurt Methodists to received God's Grace every Sunday. Fact is, it would be welcomed. And we could throw the Welch's away.
The conservative wing can be the Baptists-with-Bishops they've always been.
I would think the Episcopalians would be interested in a 2-3 million increase in their church.

A Wesley Anglican 199 days ago

Not as many progressives

I'm sure there are many progressives who would be quite comfortable in Episcopal, UCC, or PC(USA) churches. But those numbers simply aren't as great as you think. In February United Methodist Communications released the results of their survey that sought to determine theological self-identification of U.S.-based UMs. The breakdown showed 44% identified themselves as theologically "Conservative-Traditional," 28% as "Moderate-Centrist," and only 20% as "Progressive-Liberal." Quite notably, Chuck Niedringhaus, who oversees UM Communications' research, observed, "Oftentimes we think the denomination is equally divided. It was important for us to see that the plurality of people see themselves as more conservative."

John 199 days ago

Overlooked numbers

Thank you for an astute observation. What I observe in media posts is the near absence of Traditional voices. Traditionalists are referred to but usually as soiled garments, the despised collateral to the questions being decided by uprising Progressives. But when one ponders the actual numbers (as you cite) it's clear the media diminish the Traditionalists in order to inflate the grandiosity of a Progressive tide. A Washington Post story (March 29) throws lots of fuel on the fire, but never quotes a Traditional voice. Adam Hamilton and others are puffed up to appear in gigantic proportion to everything else. Reading that account, you would think that only scattered elements of conservative orthodox faith exist anywhere and are hard to find. It's a form of media "ghosting" (cowardly and tendentious, but we "get it").

Gary Bebop 198 days ago

Steady decline.

Yes, interesting. The other thing media is not saying is that liberal denominations are in steady decline. In Europe the only growing denominations are conservative (small but growing some), liberal decline.

Split is not bad. Liberals can serve the constituency they care about for as long as they survive. Traditionalists have even larger field of Africa, Asia where population is conservative. Staying together would damage both camps.

Bob 197 days ago

Methodist clergy

You made a statement that at least half the clergy are conservative, that statement might not be true. While 1 agree at least half of the ordained clergy might be progressive, there is a large section of clergy that no one is talking to and are not being counted. At least 40% if not closer to 50% of Methodist clergy are local licensed pastors. No one is polling them or asking them where they stand on this issue

Joshua 189 days ago

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