July 26, 2012

A House Divided

Historically The United Methodist Church has been on the forefront of pressing social issues, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries around things such as the institution of slavery, the role of women in the Church and on through the Civil Rights era. This is not to say that we, by any means, have been perfect along the way. Our “walk” has not always followed our “talk.”

I’m wondering if once again The United Methodist Church has the opportunity to be an example on the issue of homosexuality, though perhaps not how you might guess. Is it possible The United Methodist Church could demonstrate what a graceful transition into a new denomination might look like? I’m not suggesting which “side” should chart a new course but rather if there is a way we might facilitate this, for either “side,” while demonstrating and living in the grace that is foundational to our theology?

With the completion of The UMC conference season and the division that has become more apparent moving from General Conference into the various Jurisdictional Conferences on the issue of inclusivity, I can’t help but wonder if it is only a matter of time before one “side” or the other will be forced to leave. The words of Jesus come to mind, “a house divided against itself will fall” (Mthw 12:25; Mk 3:25; Lk 11:17). Under our current “united” structure, I believe the hurt will only become deeper as individuals continue to press the issue, an issue that will not be going away anytime soon. We all share the goal of “creating disciples for the transformation of the world,” but the longer we remain divided, the more energy we all spend away from this mission.

Would the creation of a new denomination free both “sides” to do ministry in the way they feel called, respectively? Could a graceful creation and transition into a new denomination alleviate the hurt? Or would it cause more? What might another resolution look like?

I would really appreciate hearing your thoughts, I hope you feel welcome to share and brainstorm with me.

July 18, 2012

A Prayer for Today

I call to you, O Lord, from my quiet darkness. Show me your mercy and love. Let me see your face, hear your voice, touch the hem of your cloak. I want to love you, be with you, speak to you and simply stand in your presence. But I cannot make it happen. Pressing my eyes against my hands is not praying, and reading about your presence is not living in it.
But there is that moment in which you will come to me, as you did to your fearful disciples, and say, "Do not be afraid; it is I." Let that moment come soon, O Lord. And if you want to delay it, then make me patient. Amen.
~From A Cry for Mercy by Henri J. M. Nouwen