Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
May 26th, 2014 by Joel Watts

On Maxie Dunnam

English: First United Methodist Church in Demo...

English: First United Methodist Church in Demopolis, Alabama, United States. Built in 1896. The first building was completed in 1843. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rev. Maxie Dunnam is leading the charge to fracture the United Methodist Church, much to my chagrin and others. Yet, here is a man who understands bravely, cultural change, and holding to what it right(eous). In 1962, Dunnam was part of a group of young Methodist ministers in Mississippi who put their necks on the line to fight for racial justice. They issued a statement supporting racial equality — which was in line with the BoD. For this, they were attacked and threatened.

I say this for two reasons. One, Dunnam is not to be downplayed as a right-wing homophobe afraid of change. Two, he understands courage.

I disagree with Dunnam on several issues, but I cannot disparage the man’s previous theological stances.

As we go about this struggle, let us not forget that those on the other side may be people of deep convictions who have previously stood against the injustices of the world — they just disagree about this particular issue.

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Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


4 Responses to “On Maxie Dunnam”
  1. Good point. I wish we would remember this in all our theological debates.

  2. Joel,

    I sat directly across from Dr. Dunnam at the orthodox pastors’ gathering in Atlanta. To put it frankly, many in the room (about 100 folks), were somewhat surprised and even frustrated at how diligently Dr. Dunnam was working to NOT let the church fracture.

    Scott Adams

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