who do they think they are kidding? #UMC

a very ironic picture of John Lomperis

John Lomperis, director of the United Methodist program at The Institute on Religion and Democracy, told The Christian Post that bad times were ahead for the UMC regarding the debate.

“While no one can say with 100 percent confidence what exactly will happen next, it is very clear that the road ahead will be very rocky, and that NO ONE is serious about keeping all current United Methodists together,” said Lomperis. “We need to accept the fact that no matter which way we go from here, we are guaranteed to lose a chunk of people on one or more sides.” (HT)

If you aren’t familiar with John Lomperis, he’s the guy the IRD hired to work to mold the UMC into the version the IRD believes is compatible to their opinion. I want to emphasis this part especially:

and that NO ONE is serious about keeping all current United Methodists together”

Author Unknown Trust is like a piece of paper....
Author Unknown Trust is like a piece of paper. Once it’s crumpled, it can’t be perfect again (Photo credit: symphony of love)

I have written plenty on John and the IRD before. They know me and I know them. So, when it comes to such brash statements, we cannot surmise that they just didn’t know of not only my part but the part of numerous other bloggers, pastors, and theologians who advocate for “keeping all current United Methodists together.” If they did know, and made such a statement, it is at the very least an obfuscation if not a lie. 

This is what I have maintained for a while now — and have been buffeted in my hope by many of you who have written privately to encourage me. The far right and the far left are worried about the large middle. This is why they have taken to agitprop and hiding behind semantics in their quest to control the UMC. They need you to think there are own two sides to this issue — both sides wanting schism. This is not true as has been and will be demonstrated.

And we need to stop letting both sides speak for, deny the, and run over the middle. Let us pray for John.

If you want to see just how sad their position is, be sure to compare the vitrolic words of John, and his place against the UMC, to the words of the Bishop, and his place within the UMC.

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Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. 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).

12 thoughts on “who do they think they are kidding? #UMC

  1. Perhaps it is operator error but, despite several attempts, I couldn’t open first link to Institute on Religion and Democracy. (Page not found.) I didn’t try to follow the other links.

    1. Same for me. Although I followed the other links. I think I am getting paranoid. Although I start getting suspicious when “Nazi” is used as an adjective. If even partially true, I think IRD ought to give seminars to the NSA and CIA on how to execute clandestine operations. This stuff is all new to me.

  2. Joel, I definitely respect your writing and opinion, but I know John and believe him to be a person of integrity. There are positions of the IRD that I take issue with, but I would take John at his word that what he says is what he actually believes. In this case he seems to have overstated things, but I don’t think his intention is to destroy the UMC.

  3. After the link was fixed, I took a look at the IRD site. Very amusing. Reminds me of being in Junior High School, and Tattletales are in charge. I personally would be embarrassed to be a part of the tattletale organization. I’d say grow up, and mind your own beeswax, to state a junior high school axiom. In the meantime, I would simply not pay attention to anything that they post. I can live quite happily without their “news service”.

  4. Joel, I have never been a big fan of the IRD either, even though I agree with most of what they are advocating for. Statements by people they hire tend to have a sort of outsiders ring to them, and sometimes sounds like talking points given to the writer by someone else. So I would rather listen to long-time established UM leaders. That said, your example of Bishop Jung doesn’t show anything except a bishop who says “I will work for unity.” “Wrestling with the issue honestly together” sure sounds nice, but we’ve been doing that for 40 years. Amy DeLong, on the other hand, makes the agenda of her side abundantly clear when she says: “The reality is that gay kids are growing up in the conservative branch, too… and when they come out, their church will tell them they need to leave,” she said. “A split means that somebody else has to fight this battle again 10 years down the road.” Does that strike anyone else as self-important and abusive? In other words, she is saying “we will not let you go until you all bend to our will, because we don’t trust you to raise your own children.”

    1. James, as I wrote yesterday – I condemn Amy DeLong’s brand of forced views (fascism?).

      As far as Jung’s – that’s right. Which is why Lomperis’s statement is rather false and hyperbolic.

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