Tag: UMC
Image

How Soon Will the #UMC Split?

Annual Conference is just around the corner. I'm excited, mainly because I will be comissioned as a probationary elder this year – something that has been nearly 10 years in the making. I will also be taking a new appointment shortly thereafter. It's an exciting time.

Unfortunately, the upcoming Annual Conference season has caused many in the UMC blogosphere to turn their attention to the incipient rumblings of a schism.

Dr. David Watson – Academic Dean at United Theological – wrote this thought-provoking piece.

John Lomperis – IRD director of UMAction – wrote about a group who claims schism has already happened in theory.

Joel Watts questions – among other things – the witness of a church that would schism.

To be sure, there are other things over which a church split could be fought. However, the ideological extremes (isn't is telling that phrase is germane to the discussion?) appear willing to pull the church apart over the issue of LBGT inclusion into the life of the community of faith. Since the 1970's, this issue has been pulling at the edges of the denomination – fraying and tattering the fabric of the church.

In the meantime, the culture has not stopped it's slow-but-sure turn away from the church. We are all aware that the Western church as a whole – not to mention the UMC – has spent the last 5 decades in decline. Each of the ideologically opposed sides has spent considerable amounts of time blaming each other for it, or they will point to their own numeric success as proof that their side has the market on righteousness cornered.

The fact is that the church's multi-decade, numeric decline has much more to do with cultural shift and the church's refusal to respond in kind, than it does with how the church acts on this issue. Yes, the church's stance on issues of LBGT concern effect the church's witness in the world, but church renewal folk will tell you we have bigger fish to fry.

In my opinion – and the opinion of many others – schism would only further kill the church's witness.

I spoke about the frayed edges of the fabric of the denomination. However, there is a vast middle. In this vast middle lives the majority of the denomination. These people see the same disagreements everyone else does, and they probably have their own opinions on this and other issues – with varying degrees of passion ascribed to them. What they see, however, is their local congregation and the communities into which they must minister.

Those in this vast middle see the ministry that needs to be done, and not their pet ideological issues for which they need to doggedly advocate. They are congregations who tend to be more conservative, being led by pastors who tend to be more progressive – or vice versa – and they see opportunities for ministry. They are communities of faith, and they understand that our minor disagreements over pet issues should not overshadow the vital ministry they could do together.

How much more effective and vital could our ministry be if we learned to live and love together? Could our disagreements be used to enliven our community, instead of being used as a way to divide it? Could we make ministry about the love and grace of God, and not about how we've learned to deny it to each other?

Even with General Conference being a couple of years away, there are rumblings of a schism proposal (or two) being floated around. It won't pass this quadrennial or next, but there are plenty of us who hear these rumblings and think it could be sooner rather than later.

I prefer never.

What do you think?

 

Video

Video From The Pastor’s Office #17 – “Better Know A Bishop: Minerva Carcaño”

With all the talk about leadership in the Catholic Church this week, I thought I'd take the opportunity to introduce you to a Bishop with whom you may or may not be acquainted. Meet Bishop Minerva Carcaño.

 

Spitballing the Future of the Church Part 2: Are There More Disillusioned Young Clergy?

  Yesterday, I had a Facebook message chat with a friend of mine.  I will not tell you how close, but he is on the cusp of being ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church.  We had always discussed what was bothering us about different aspects of the the church and the life of

Read More

“Hitler, Obama And The UMC: Three Peas In A Pod”

Now that I have your attention…I need you to read this entire post. I only created this headline so people might read this post, because I feel more passionately about this than anything I have ever done as a minister of the gospel. I never desired this blog to be a place where criticism of

Read More

Mark Tooley, @TheIRD Take An Undeserved Victory Lap

Mark Tooley, the neo-conservative president of the Institute for Religion and Democracy (a neo-conservative Washington think-tank with ties to the United Methodist Church), loves to demonize liberals.  The recent victories won by conservative United Methodists seem to have given Mr. Tooley the idea that he can unfairly demonize them in the wake of the United

Read More

INTRODUCING! A New Segment: ‘Journey OF the Cross’

This… …is the official cross of my blog.  Not that the cross could be classified as being “official” for anything other than salvation, but this is the cross that will be most widely used in my blog. How did this cross come into existence?  Well, Emily has an addiction to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby.  She

Read More

SERMON from 3-25-12: “Jesus’ Final Week: Maundy Thursday”

John 13.31-35   31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only

Read More

A Call to Unity by the UMC Council of Bishops

November 10, 2011 Dear United Methodist Sisters and Brothers in Christ: Grace and peace to you from Jesus Christ who calls us to faithfulness during a time of great and unsettling change around the world that God loves so deeply and also within the Body of Christ where Jesus is both head and redeemer. We

Read More

Wilson Phillips and the September 11th Anniversary

This Sunday, it will have been 10 years since I flipped on The Today Show to see WTC 1 in flames and watch helplessly as United 175 slammed into WTC 2. I am sure that I am not the only pastor struggling with how best to approach this tragic anniversary. Personally, there is already so

Read More
%d bloggers like this: