Bishop Will Willimon on Why No Plan Can Unite United Methodists



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The UMC will die with the whimper of numerical decline

Unless more people step up and acknowledge and start confronting the real problem: conflicting and contradictory mindsets trying to occupy the same space making the UMC a war zone rather than a church. Reality is, traditionalists already understand this whereas progressives are so upside down in your cause, you cannot step back and grasp the bigger picture. Nobody wants to be part of an organization that is in complete and total conflict about who it is and what it is it needs to be doing!

" Research indicates that United Methodists are increasingly polarized around issues of scripture, salvation, sexuality, money, politics, multiculturalism, church government, worship and even the identity of God, said the Rev. Lyle E. Schaller of Naperville, Ill.

"Many people are in denial, while their … church continues to age and decline, he said, in the Circuit Rider magazine for United Methodist clergy. Others know what's happening, yet remain passive.

"Sports fans, That. Was. In. 1998. "

Progressives need to shift their focus from trying to "win" this unwinnable war and start asking how much longer is it worth fighting this war?" Wake up there is no middle ground, there is no "and" between these two beliefs, only an "or": God accepts same gender relationships as part of His plan or God does not see same gender relationships as part of His plan. Progressives will never be able to prove the validity of your side when all you continue to do is expend energy combating those who disagree with you.

betsy more than 2 years ago


“Sports fans?” Is the Body of Christ “sport” to you? That is a pretty disturbing concept. Maybe you should reconsider .

Lin more than 2 years ago

More or less, Bishop Willmon is right his analysis of events here. The end of the UMC will come, as T.S. Eliot wrote, "not with a bang but with a whimper." The right-wing groups will form their own coalition, heavy on rules and little different from Southern Baptists and other far right church bodies. They will crow about how they "owned the libs" at this recent conference, yet it will be a hollow victory as only a handful of their own children will follow then off the cliff here.

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago

It was a great compromise

I thought the UMC was a great compromise for its time. I think the BoD provides a great set of social principles. Maybe as a society, there are better solutions than what we came up with. Previously, we provided an opportunity for LGBT to serve in ministry but without public declaration of their sexuality. Now, that just isn't needed as much. There are UCC, MCC, Presbyterian, and Episcopalian Churches that will hire openly gay preachers and we just aren't as competitive in that environment. That's a great thing. In the "Baptists that can read" analogy, there are just parts of our connection that are just a little too Baptist.

Anonymous more than 2 years ago

Sorry no

Pastors are not “hired” in the UMC. They are called. And words have meanings. They are two entirely different concepts.

Lin more than 2 years ago

Very true.

It will take a lot of effort on the part of conservatives to rebuild infrastructure if none of the seminaries go with them. But to be honest, my uncle was at church and really enjoying. The conference got rid of the contemporary preacher as he wasn't ordained. The ministry in the gym had grown enough to support a real preacher and they needed to fill the spot. He left the church over it. So maybe this being a little more cottage industry would be a good thing.

Anonymous more than 2 years ago