You can find my first remarks here. Should anyone reading this happen to be a Bishop or DS that has remained faithful to the UMC, it’s policies and teachings, thank you. Please understand that this is not directed at you. For those of you in leadership who have encouraged this sort of behavior, please understand that yes, this is very much to you.
The truly insidious part of this effort, and efforts like it, it that they involve me without my consent. See, like it or not, we are connected. That is one of the unique and defining principles of our polity. This is what the church has to say about connection
The principle, basic to The United Methodist Church, that all leaders and congregations are connected in a network of loyalties and commitments that support, yet supersede, local concerns.
Did you catch that? It is about something bigger. It is not about me, or local concerns, it is bigger. God is bigger. Why is it that you can not seem to see that? That pastors, District Superintendents, and Bishops who allow this have forgotten that absolutely vital part of our connection. We are one, from me here in Ohio to a Methodist across the globe. What one does affects us all. I may be a foot and you an hand, but inevitably, what happens to one affects the other. When disobedience is allowed to occur, I am complicit with it, whether I like it or not. In all of this, you, those who continue down this road, those who encourage and allow the rampant disobedience, you have failed me and countless others.
[tweetthis]It is about something bigger. It is not about me, or local concerns, it is bigger. God is bigger. [/tweetthis]
You in leadership, especially those who happen to be Bishops, have failed me greatly. The episcopal leadership of the church should be a sacred trust and a holy calling. You who are to safeguard the church have instead chosen to allow it to be torn asunder. You have allowed the disobedience to grow to such a level that it is now an epidemic in some regions. Yes, the wheat always exists with the tares, but you have stopped feeding the wheat and instead have chosen to sow a field of weeds that attempts to strangle out the wheat. No, the good farmer will not try to pull all the tares, but he will certainly not encourage them to grow and will most definitely remove them where he may. You have failed in this. You have failed me and others…but that is not the worst of it at all, no it is far worse.
You have forced me into a corner not of my own making. You have forced me to decide between my connection to a denomination that you have allowed to be riddled with the disease of disobedience, or to leave and be cut off from the body to wither. I did not choose this, you chose it for me. You chose to allow it to happen unchecked, and in some cases have encouraged it. There is a vast difference between calling for and working toward change and rejecting the authority of the church to do, and encourage to be done, those things contrary to church teachings. Oddly enough, it is that same church and it’s authority that entrusted you with you position. If you reject the authority of the church that gave you position, how can you continue to serve with any integrity?
You can not simultaneously claim the authority of Christ then reject the authority of His bride. It becomes increasingly clear that you too have rejected the authority of the church and instead decided that your authority is superior. You have decided that your voices matter more than the voice of the church. Your actions are righteous no matter the teachings of the church. Your chaos is a thing of beauty to God instead of the orderly worship and function of His church. You have led the charge in rejecting the church in favor of self. You have done this and many have followed. You have rejected being a living stone that can be built upon in favor of being a stone that I, and those like me, stumble over. That was not your call. That was not the sacred trust given you.
The most disturbing thing of all really is that I have to write this. A name of no consequence in a sea of faces. No training, no theological background, nothing to speak of really other than a long litany of really bad choices and decisions. Why is it that I understand the need for the connection of the body better than you? Perhaps it is exactly that litany of bad choices, or my lack of formal training, who can tell. What I know is this, I am a part of this body, and I, and many like me. desperately need you to lead, not in the disobedience of pride, but in the obedience of faith. We desperately require of you the necessity of living up to the sacred trust given you. We want to trust you and believe in you, yet every time we have the chance to, you fail us. Yes, we will all fail, but you do not see it this way at all. You see it as a crowning achievement. Something to be held high as a standard. You see your failure of me as a success of the church. Even Joel Osteen understands the necessity for commitment to the church. Yes, even Joel Osteen! “
You can be committed to Church but not committed to Christ, but you cannot be committed to Christ and not committed to church.
I mean the guy gets about 99% of Christianity wrong, but even he gets this. We need you to be committed to the church because we understand that if you are not then you can not be committed to Christ.