Wesleyan Covenant Association: Dancing on the Head of a Pin



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Core issues

I agree that the WCA is really about what comes next after the UMC splits, and it probably will, over the issue of the church's stance on human sexuality. In fact, the church's present stance is a very recent one, with the current exclusionary language about homosexuality only added in 1972. That language is the only language in the Discipline that singles out one group of people for exclusion from ordained ministry, and forbids those already ordained from participating in marriage ceremonies for gays and lesbians. The addition of that language was the child of the "culture wars" that coincided with rise of the Religious Right in the 70's. It wasn't the liberal advocates of diversity who put the exclusionary language in the Discipline, but rather the self-described "orthodox," "Jesus-loving," folks who are now constituting themselves as the WCA. Like the folks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who opposed evolution, and like many segregationist Christians who opposed all the civil rights legislation a half century ago, so now, despite the clearly-established fact that homosexuality is not a "lifestyle choice," but a part of a person's core identity that is innate at birth, those in the church who cannot easily accept that advances in knowledge lead to often uncomfortable, but necessary, changes in opinion and belief, insist on barring the door to extending full human rights to those who were deliberately excluded in 1972. Just as the church had to change its mind (repent) on the issue of race, when long-held notions of white superiority were no longer tenable, so on the issue of human gender-identity and sexuality, the church needs to accept that people who are homosexual in orientation are just as capable of entering into faithful, monogamous relationships and also of being called to ministry as are heterosexuals. I have worked closely with two gay colleagues in ministry who are among the finest ministers I have known. That is why, for me, the issues relating to human sexuality and gender-identity in our Book of Discipline are indeed "core" issues. Any language that is exclusionary of one particular group, is language that needs to go.

Larry R Kalajainen more than 5 years ago

The core issue in one sentence

The image that best describes the current unity of The United Methodist Church is two cats tied together by their tails!

Betsy more than 5 years ago

My perspective on the core issue

I want my naiveté re the United Methodist Church back! I just want to be able to go to church and believe that everything will be OK. But I know it won’t because The United Methodist Church became a spiritual train wreck for me; and there is a very good reason it did: The UMC began drifting from its unique message and method so far back that it has become a Big Tent housing a mind boggling array of theologies and other understandings; collectively, the people of the UMC believe nothing in particular. It has been a Big Tent for so long it has degenerated into competing/conflicting factions who are jockeying for position and control. It has been a Big Tent for so long, it is now a house divided against itself. People cannot trust each other when they are coming from completely different perspectives and understanding. Bishops cannot lead a church that is headed in multiple directions at the same time. The United Methodist Church has become about unrestrained/uncontained diversity that leaves it like water spilled on the floor; the only thing that keeps it from totally fracturing is an understanding of connection which is a mighty short dam that leaves the church a mile wide and an inch deep.

Betsy more than 5 years ago

I disagree

With your assessment that it is the WCA who is dancing on the head of a pin and making sexuality a core issue. They are only responding to the progressives who are dancing on the head of a pin and making sexuality a core issue: For over 40 years progressives have insisted that the church must change its stance on sexuality. And when that did not work they decided the issue was so important to them it justified them in ignoring the decisions of the church and striking out on their own to force a change. If you want some thoughts as to why people have banded together as the WCA, check out these two articles:



If anybody knows that sexuality is not a core issue it is the ones who formed the WCA. What is a core issue is the decision by clergy to work outside the bounds of church polity !

Betsy more than 5 years ago

Let's try this then

Let's ordain clergy, appoint them, name them Bishops etc. on the basis of merit alone and not discuss their personal sexual orientation at all. Let's perform marriages of persons legally entitled to marry and not concern ourselves with what they do in bed. Problem solved.

George Nixon Shuler more than 5 years ago