The Sound of Sirens

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Methodism was never really a big tent

Betsy more than 5 years ago

Looking above/below sexuality

I have spent four long years listening to a myriad of voices within the UMC. The spectrum of theologies/understandings is absolutely mind boggling. No wonder I spent 50+ years as a Methodist/United Methodist but when the pedal hit the metal and I needed a clear understanding of who God is and who am in relation I had to distance myself from all things church to find it. The last year three years I have been on a specific theological track strongly rooted in basic orthodox Christianity that has given me an understanding of God I never thought possible and helped me to realize that it was OK that I was broken--in fact, in Christianity that is where my part of the story begins; it is sandwiched in between God created the world and everything in it and called it good and God has the most amazingly unfathomable plan to get me back on track. For the most part the church has lost an understanding of our part of the story: humanity is tainted by original sin, or as M. Craig Barnes puts it, humanity just loves to take control of the situation. In short, the UMC can not do what you are suggesting until it reclaims a robust message that delineates between who God is and who we are and then it has to understand that Christianity is not about us changing the world, it is about God transforming humanity one person at a time. This is the understanding John Wesley had that brought Methodism into existence in the first place. No matter what else he did, his Priority #1 never waivered from connecting people to God with a specific message about who they are and who God is; and then he connected those individuals who responded to that message to each other in a community of love, support and accountability. As a result, whole communities were transformed one person at a time. In all my listening I have come across at least half a dozen perspectives of "How the UMC has lost its way"; the one thing they all have in common is that a drift started in the 1800's which means the UMC has spent over a century rumbling around without a clear understanding of who it is and what it is it needs to be doing. The disagreement over sexuality is only the beginning of the epic struggle that will be required if the UMC is going to be able to do what you want it to do.

Betsy more than 5 years ago

What Do You Mean?

Betsy, I appreciate your perspective; it sounds as though you've been on quite a spiritual journey. What would help me in understanding your perspective even better would be for you to say specifically what it is you think I want the UMC to do. I'd also like to know more about your understanding of who God is. I must admit that at this stage in my personal spiritual journey, my perception of God is very much like that described in the medieval mystical text called "Cloud of Unknowing," which basically says that God is beyond human intellectual comprehension, and can only be perceived in part, most of often in relationship through spiritual experience. I hope you'll accept my invitation to tell more about your recent study experience and your new understandings. Thank you for writing. -- Cynthia Astle, Editor

cynthiaadmin (United Methodist Insight) more than 5 years ago