I try not to be too dramatic. Okay, maybe I try not to be needlessly dramatic. But I'm convinced that with hindsight it will be clear: This is the moment that a new structure for an existing denomination-- or an entirely new denomination-- will begin its birth pangs. I hope it's that first thing, hear me.… Continue reading UMC, this is the moment.
I think there are several ways to accomplish [something less than schism for The UMC], but to me the most promising involve the creation of an United States (or Jurisdictional) Central Conference/s, and a two-volume Book of Discipline, with the option of emending the second volume in each Central Conference. Kind of a way, I hope, of holding together those things we do well-- our ministry and mission, our Social Principles (SOME of them-- I'll get to that), our ways of funding and equipping local ministries across the globe-- and allowing one another the grace and space to carry out our ministries in our contexts. As Wesley would say, in essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity.
When I worked on the reproductive rights subcommittee at General Conference, we found that a great number of people from a huge variety of contexts, backgrounds, and beliefs could come to the table and discuss abortion in fruitful ways. We reached an impasse every time we tried to proscribe what doctors and patients should and should not do. But every time we refocused on who were were as United Methodists and how we were called to be in ministry before, during, and after crisis pregnancy, we were able to reach a closer consensus despite our vast differences. When we listened to each others' stories and asked what our proactive, loving, spiritual response should be, we could live in harmony. Despite our differences, Love was enough.
This blog post is part of a synchblog today on the topic of schism in the UMC. Please share your thoughts here, on the DreamUMC website, on your blog or facebook page, and tonight at 9 pm eastern on Twitter as we chat together. ----- Sadly, I have recent experience with splitting up. It's not… Continue reading The Great Divorce: Tension and Schism in the UMC