Not So United

Years ago, I attended churches of the two most flexible Christian denominations: Episcopalian and Methodist. I was still a Catholic, just attending there. When my wife converted to be Catholic, she said, “What I like most about being Catholic is that you can be a normal person and still go to heaven.” I would paraphrase her and say the thing about being Methodist or Episcopal is that you can be or do anything and still go to heaven. I once heard that if you needed a prayer that would offend no one, ask a Methodist to write it.

It’s called the United Methodist Church (UMC). For now. But due to the sin of being nice to sinners, in this case those of different sexual preference or persuasion, rumblings of discontent are sounding.

Two things would shatter my former Roman Catholic (RC) core–female priests and openly LBGTQ+ priests. Not because it would bother me (even then), but I know Catholics, especially the clergy. Pedophiles, maybe. Ordained women will not happen.

I’ve known many controversial RC clergy: from borderline atheists, Buddhists, New Age nature worshipers, and divorced priests formerly married to nuns. Almost nothing surprises me regarding that segment of society. All were men. All will always be men. The end. While a gay man may be permitted the power to convert bread and wine to the body and blood, he would not remain so if he were openly practicing his sexual preference.

But now, apparently, the Methodist bunch have been arguing about these topics for years. Now there is a standing schism movement disuniting the Methodists. Being democratic, this is being done by vote within many Methodist congregations with the help of lawyers (of course). So much for being United, and so much for being flexible. It is called disassociation for adults, it’s called taking your ball and going home for children. To be clear, the Methodist debate is over homosexuality—same sex weddings and gay ministers.

But democratic? One mega church with 14,000 members voted. About 96% of those who voted want to leave UMC for more heterosexual security (the definition of homophobia). They want to take UMC property with them. To my knowledge, it’s not all a done deal in the UMC. But only about 3,000 of the 14K voted. That means that 11,000+, or about 83% did not vote to leave. I wonder why.

My point is that the UMC is neither united nor democratic. All 14K of that one bunch may attend any church/mosque/synagogue they wish. If the non-voting, other 80% see through the ministerial bullshit and decide that exclusion is not Christian, they may decide to exercise that right to try something else. One more time: Methodists are flexible.

Bill

 

A transgender UMC deacon speaks with Bishop from Liberia, 
Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

31 thoughts on “Not So United

  1. Aren’t Episcopalians bible thumpers? I should think they’d not be particularly open. Not from what I see of my scripture quoting friend…

    And anyway, this is why I say religion – all of it’s branches – is a crock. Some pretend to be open (or I thought they were). You’ve now quashed that notion…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good points, Dale.
      I think there is high and low Episcopalian/Anglican, but that may be liturgical. Every denomination has its bible thumpers. 🙂 But we agree 100% on the crock part.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂
        That must be it…
        Total crock 😉
        I’m reading a book right now about a woman surviving cancer… I try not to barf at each and every mention of prayers and God and stuff (she share notes she received in which there is an huge amount of grace of and strength from God, et al… I just can’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Right, Dale.
        Because I had wee bit of sarcoma (I’m now over 4 years NED, so fine), I joined a few FB pages with stories, info, and advice.
        I understand and expect the praying and asking god to change his mind about the cancer. But two things…
        One guy pasted, “is anyone else here atheist?” I let him know he was not alone.
        Another time a group posted some way over-the-top religious (Christian) stuff. I commented that I did not know it was a religious page. The admins apologized to me and said they were sorry I was offended. I explained that I was not offended in the least, but I belonged for sarcoma-related things, understanding that people will still work hard to change their god’s mind regarding their or a loved one’s cancer. I left the page since there are others.
        It is ridiculous, but I do not need to be part of it, nor should they want me to. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ugh. I typed my whole response on my phone, hit something and erased it all!
        Wee bit, eh? Let us hope it remains NED – so how about I send you some good vibes 😉
        When Austin (son), the hospital tried to invite me to take part in a group. Nope. Did you ever see “Reservation Road” with Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo? Well, anyway. Joaquin joins this group for people whose children have been killed or died by means unexpected (say, a car crash). All it does is keep you stuck in that muck. Nope.
        I can understand you wanting to join to get more info re: the disease and treatments, or whatnot. NOT to get god thrown down your throat. I wouldn’t have stayed either,

        Like

      4. Thank you, Dale. Me too.

        One thing people who have had cancer share are follow-ups. I am untroubled by annual scans and exams, but some people worry a lot.

        I’m sitting here this morning wondering what to do with Sammi’s word: ‘amok.’ Cancer run amok? Why not?

        I also looked up rhymes. Canuck, buck, duck, truck, suck, and ??? 🙂

        Have a wonderful October weekend, Dale.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I bet.

        I imagine it must be difficult to be untroubled by annual exams… maybe after having a couple of thumbs up, all is good ones, one can release a bit of the worry… Or, they can be like you and just go with the flow and not waste time worrying…

        Hahahaha! I saw that the word today was Amok… I kinda like it so I might have to play along…

        It is Thanksgiving weekend here, in the Great White North (Monday, officially) so part of my three-day weekend will involve turkey at my sister’s house 🙂

        Happy October weekend to you! 🍂🍁

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I’ll check for my invitation. 🙂

        My cancer doc once said, “Every time we have one of these meetings, the chance of recurrence drops.” I believed him.

        I hope you write something. I have my 35-words done and will post it soon.

        Happy Thanksgiving Day (it is on my calendar). We have Columbus Day, but that is changing, and it is Sukkot, if one is so inclined. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. 😉

        I think that is the right attitude to have. And believing is the way I would go, too.

        Oooh… I was just looking at the definition… Lawzy! I would never have considered it a “murderous” or “violent” adjective or adverb. I had less aggressive intent 😀

        Thank you. Looking forward to the little family gathering – missing two of her kids (thank you COVID) but my two and my mother will join in. My other sister’s family is doing their own thing as the 12th is also her hubby’s birthday and their anniversary.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I would point out that some Methodists not wanting to support lgbtq+ members and considering leaving the broader Methodist church because many of them do support them isn’t exactly evidence that no religion is open-minded and only just pretending to be.

      In the same way that some atheists being against acceptance of homosexuality isn’t evidence that all atheists are and they are just pretending to be open-minded.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. First, being atheist has nothing to do with being open minded. It is merely a conclusion concerning the existence of god based upon evidence.

        I’m not sure what your first paragraph is referring to. The point of the essay is not open mindedness. It is about disunity within the UNITED Methodist Church. It’s irony.

        The tension between those that do and do not support LGBTQ+ is ubiquitous, if that is what you mean.

        Religion is what it is. It’s by definition seldom open minded. People, however, either are or are not accepting. But that is off topic.

        Like

      2. “And anyway, this is why I say religion – all of it’s branches – is a crock. Some pretend to be open (or I thought they were). You’ve now quashed that notion…” – Dale (emphasis mine).

        My post was meant to be a direct response to Dale’s statement not the main post, but it looks like it got published in a weird spot. So I can see why that can be confusing.

        My point was Dale’s conclusion that some religions pretend to be open is not based on very good reasoning.

        Liked by 1 person

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