I’m not dead yet…

It’s hard to believe that the last post on this blog was in 2018. In the meantime, I have posted updates on our church website at www.mcfarlandumc.org and on our church Facebook page. But this blog, with which I have had a love-hate relationship since 2004 has been neglected and ignored for almost 5 years now. That’s hard to believe.

This is the third iteration of the blog that I started in 2004 when I entered candidacy studies to explore the call that God had been pressing upon my life since the early 70’s but I avoided with a passion because it wasn’t what I wanted. That exploration led to being admitted to candidacy for ministry in The United Methodist Church, the church that I was raised in, confirmed in, that disappointed me and caused me to leave it for a season before a marriage helped lead me back into it with a new fervor.

The various iterations of this blog helped me to voice my frustrations with the forces that have sought to destroy not only The United Methodist Church, but all of mainline Protestantism since, I believe, the progressivism that spawned Teddy Roosevelt and the focus on worker’s rights that heralded the turn of the 20th Century. The Methodist Episcopal Church advocated in its statements on Social Witness the ideas that formed the foundation of the Middle Class that came to fruition following World War II. The old money interests whose Ox was gored in all of this have played the long game not only in the church but in the American political establishment as well.

The groups that have advocated for the current splitting of The United Methodist Church have lied and misrepresented to cause division in the church just like their secular parents have lied and misrepresented to lead to the political divisions in our nation. Over the years I’ve called out the lies of the IRD and the misrepresentations of the folks at Good News and other organizations especially when their lies could be demonstrated by just watching the full video record of what they were misrepresenting. To say that I hold total disgust toward them and their tactics is an understatement. But, like the lies, misdirection, and deception that has led us to the place that we find ourselves in American politics, the same on their part has led us to this place in the church. By the way, the way that we interact with LGBTQ+ folks is a SCAPEGOAT people. The issue at the bottom of all of this is POWER and CONTROL.

This being said, I am disturbed at the way that all of this is falling out. I am disgusted with the way that the WCA crowd is crowing over the number of churches that are voting to disaffiliate from the Holston Conference specifically or the UMC in totality. But I am also disgusted by the folks who plan to remain who are basically saying “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” To my mind this whole situation damages our Wesleyan witness as we gather in a circular firing squad to get our way.

In the meantime, the Wesleyan witness of grace is being shoved to the wayside for expediency.

The next couple of years in the UMC will be a challenge. As a leader in the Holston Conference, I’m not going anywhere. To the folks that are leaving the UMC, go with God. To the folks that are staying with the UMC, stay with God. To all, please stop scapegoating and demonizing the other side. It destroys our witness when we demonize each other. If our mission is to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” then we’re tossing that aside to make political points… shame on us.

We’ll make it through this nonsense. But I figure we’ll be bloodied in the process because we are too vain and too ignorant to do otherwise. And it’s a damned shame because God is greater than our divisions. In fact, the divisions would be gone if we put our trust and faith in God instead of our own understanding and prejudice.

All the best.