It’s time?

PN4eqLdAThe United Methodist Centrist Movement, Love Prevails, and others have reported the following information: “The “Love Your Neighbor Coalition” announced tonight that the Bishops are in an executive session reviewing a plan for schism that had been negotiated by a broad spectrum of UM leaders to be completed at special session of General Conference in 2018. There would be a moratorium on trials associated with violations of the BOD in regards to matters of LGBT inclusion during that time. Various delegates are beginning to relay on Twitter that their delegations were briefed on this matter this evening. We’d ask you all to please join us in prayer for the United Methodist Church.” Thank you centrist movement.

So, it’s time? It seems so. Details are sketchy, but it seems that in two years, there is the very real potential for the UMC to split. A pastor friend of mine once told me that his experience had been that when people start talking about divorce, it is just about details and not really about the possibility. The conversation entertains the possibility. The knee jerk reaction of course is to find someone to blame for what is happening, but it is not time for that. There is a natural tendency to mourn but it is also not time for that. There is even the tendency for denial and it’s not time for that. It’s time to pray.

I know, I know, it sounds cliche, but that is the time it is. Good old fashioned fall to the ground prayer. No for anything in particular save for the wisdom and guidance of our leaders. If we are to divide, then prayer will be necessary so that we can indeed do so in a way that allows us all to move forward for the work of God. If we are to stay together and come back from this, then it will require the same. If we are honest, I think that most of us came to this General Conference season with the feeling that things would not be the same after. I think all of us hoped they would not be. We don’t know a lot of details. We don’t know a lot of the nuts and bolts. We don’t even have official confirmation that it has occurred. We all feel like it is time though. For what we have varying ideas about, but it’s time.

No matter what happens from this moment, everything just changed. The casual talk about possibly splitting is much more real. The conversations about divorce are not theoretical anymore. If this proves to be some sort of elaborate hoax, it does not change a whole lot because it is a believable hoax. I posed the question in the title “It’s time?” The answer is yes. What it is time for remains to be sen, but no matter what happens everything has changed. That is not a bad thing, or a good thing necessarily, but simply a thing. It’s time…time to wait to see what is next. Time to pray for the success of whatever comes from this. Time to rejoice that this long time of tension may be coming to an end, even if not the end you have wanted and prayed for. Is it time? Yes…for what we will have to wait and see.


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16 Replies to “It’s time?”

  1. Just for reference, from the UMC App, from about 6 minutes in, to about 26 minutes in. I am sorry, but just plain rude.

    So 20 minutes wasted.

    I would suggest multi port teleconferencing, instead of a remote conference. Save on travel and per diem. And a controlled environment. We did it in the Navy all the time, 15 years ago. I am sure the technology is more advanced now, to make it even easier. Set up nodes in local churches (monitor in chapels), to minimize node traffic. Only local travel necessary. Herd mentality* is eliminated.
    *(People can jump on “herd mentality”, but sorry, a derogatory phrase for a large group of people that have a common characteristic, to interrupt an on-going meeting, with totally inappropriate actions – and I support the goal, but totally dislike the methods).

  2. Marriage is a very good analogy in so many ways. In counseling couples I have never found it possible for reconciliation if one spouse unequivocally and willfully refuses to keep their vows.

    1. Since you do marriage counseling, perhaps you can answer this question.

      What is the biggest failing of Christianity in regards to marriage?

      I ask because, in my experience, Christian marriages don’t seem to succeed any better than anyone else efforts to establish long-term domestic tranquility.

      1. A short answer: The inability or willingness to be covenant keepers. At the heart of it is selfishness.

        1. I’m having trouble replying because I’m still laughing so hard at what Gary wrote!

          Anyway, thanks for responding.

          I asked because my first wife and I have been together for since the Sexual Revolution. People look at us as if we’re some relic from the Stone Age.

          The one thing I believe we have that many other couple may lack is a commitment beyond the marriage ceremony. Even when we wanted to call it quits, we knew we couldn’t. Instead, we had to resolve the difficulty.

          At the same time, as Gary’s post suggests, I have been amazed at the travesty of so-called Christian marriages. Far too many of them seem to be based on some level of magical thinking.

          One thing I try to do for my wife is to make her laugh. I also try to treat her as if we’re still dating. For example, I still open doors for her.

          While most of it is just little things, it seems to add up in her mind to something big.

      2. I don’t know about counseling, but I have always been amazed by this “biblical” obsession with marriage, one man, one woman. “Biblical” in quotation marks, like how does anyone arrive at this “biblical marriage” definition. This is off-subject, so I won’t debate anyone. But:
        Adam and Eve – no marriage ceremony
        Abraham and Sarah – handmaiden in waiting
        Lot – wife dead, sex with daughters
        David – bath on roof, bad news for loyal follower
        Solomon – 700 wives and 300 concubines
        Paul – don’t marry, unless you can’t control yourself. Better than alternative
        Disciples – you’re wife and children will hate you
        Jesus – Not

        It seems like the bible should not be held up as a model for marriage.

        1. Jesus did tell us of the model for marriage, though. Matthew 19:4-6: 4 He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

          1. No, Gary, when Jesus was asked about divorce, in His answer He tells of the basis of marriage. (Nice try, though).

          2. Sorry, basis of divorce, not the basis of marriage.

            Now, if you except it as being about marriage, what specifically is your interpretation of…?:

            “10The disciples say unto him, If the case of the man is so with his wife, it is not expedient to marry. 11But he said unto them, Not all men can receive this saying, but they to whom it is given. 12For there are eunuchs, that were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are eunuchs, that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

            More specifically, let me repeat:
            “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

            It sounds to me like no definition of marriage, no “holy state of matrimony”, no marriage ceremony, but rather a sin if already married, to commit adultery (when you get a divorce). The actual “definition of marriage” is not included. The expression “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it” sounds more like our modern expression, “whatever…”

            I would also say “whatever”. If you are outside the typical definition of marriage from 2000 years ago, “whatever”. You don’t fit the category of “mortal sin” as defined by Jesus in these scriptures. However, for us typical heterosexual people that get a divorce, we are the ones that are in trouble 🙂

            If you are gay, you are not in trouble by getting married. No scriptural definition of marriage exists.

          3. As with other things, Christians are far better at quoting what Jesus said about marriage than being living examples of the practice thereof.

          4. “Know More Than I Should”..
            Bingo! And for those that quote the BoD as scripture:

            Proposed changes to the BoD.
            304.3, based upon Matt 19:11-12, add:
            “The practice of divorce is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

  3. I have been in the UMC for 4 decades. Frankly… I welcome the schism. I’m tired of fighting with the same people over the same issues. This is the very definition of irreconcilable differences. The fight, in my eyes has largely limited, if not paralyzed the Church. Let us end this cycle. The progressives will not change. The conservatives will not submit.

    I’m sorry but 45 years of trench warfare is enough.

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