I think the last time he was here was March of 2015. The following is an excerpt from that Blog, of 2015:
“Experience has taught me that the act of avoidance is akin to blissful ignorance. Wake up! This elephant is not going to go away. There is a debate that encompasses the whole of the United Methodist Church, is divisive at its very utterance and is quietly destroying the faith. It is particularly disturbing because the leadership of our denomination is itself spinning in the wind in hopes that enough dust will cover a subject that draws lines quicker than a room full of architects with pencils and drawing tables.” Here is the link to that blog if you wish to read it.
The usual path to such issues that impact the doctrine and the Discipline of the United Methodist Church follow a set pattern of procedures that allows opinions from those in the pew, on committees, church councils and others sources of input and hopefully prayer…lots of it. I left the “church” shortly thereafter because I found the issue so compelling that it interfered with good judgement but most of all with a Christian attitude of love and tolerance. Covid a few years later put the issue on hold…or you might say exasperated all sides involved in this. There was one thing that I found odd…the almost total silence from the pew concerning this issue. What was the issue that caused me to leave? From the past blog:
“The subject of discussion is Homosexuality, Same Sex Marriage and what the church believes to be the correct path forward. Like the Israelites we too have been wandering in the wilderness, for at least forty years, and having our faith questioned. For us there seems to be no Mosses and the Promised Land is hidden from view behind trees of words.”
So I was gone for awhile but not out of church. First lesson I learned is that my haste to act was wrong and I in a way had abandon my faith just as John Mark abruptly left Paul and Barnabas after they had arrived at Perga on that first mission trip. I also learned that there was a need for fellowship, it is a big part of the christian community, which I have now come to refer to as the community of faith. Denominations and doctrine do not sustain faith and I might add convenience should not be a factor in our response to God’s call in our life.
After returning to the Methodist Church a few years ago and having time being away from the doctrine, committees and the uncertainty of direction the church would go, I now view this Elephant In The Pew differently. As United Methodists we must not abandon our church that is no longer a valid action. When I look back and reassess, I discover I had as the saying goes “the wrong end of the stick”. The first problem I had to find peace with was my lack of biblical understanding. Notice I said understanding, not knowledge.You see as confusing as this might be I needed wisdom… and that comes only from God. You work hard you can acquire knowledge but lady wisdom is found only in God…it is a divine gift. These next twelve words have encouraged a million words or more.
Leviticus 18:22 – Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
The next thing I have learned is that the lack of leadership from those in positions of influence and power in the Methodist Church were busy pretending that there was no elephant in the Church and it was my opinion that they preferred to keep it out of the “pew”. Most Pastors do not like unhappy folks in the pew…that type of atmosphere tends to encourage divisions among the congregation, upsets the DS and draws the attention of the Conference, not in a good way. I am just a Layman, I have served over the years on various committees, did chair the Church Council at one time and taught Sunday School. I mention this only as a point of reference that I at one time felt I knew the views in the pew of these hot button topics. The other reason being that I was looking in the wrong places…pointing with the wrong end of the stick. This headline caught my attention…. Methodist Leaders say ‘rebellion and dysfunction’ over LGBT issues splitting the denomination. (Jon Brown June 9, 2022 Fox News) Still no news from the “The Pew” the leadership act as if we know nothing.
Now about that stick… everyone likes to play with numbers so here is what I believe. This is not a numbers game, this is about those who would pervert the scripture to advance their own Ungodly agenda. Gay Rights, LGBT and all the baggage that comes with it is squandering the ability of the faithful to share the word…Jesus Christ is the Son of The Living God…in whom, through whom, there is Forgiveness and Salvation…Life Everlasting. We of the faith are overlooking one important command…
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
So my final words to you on this subject would be to understand these points of thought. Consider not leaving the Methodist Church over the “rebellion and dysfunction” that keeps us from being Christ Like in our behavior. The God we serve is a God of Restoration, not Condemnation. Let’s get on telling the good news and never fall back from our responsibility of speaking out about those things and behaviors that separate us from our God, welcoming all to His Table. Would like to hear an AMEN from the Pew.
Life is Good