United Methodists Agree that they Cannot Agree to Disagree

Mark Tooley gloats:

The Adam Hamilton motion was considered the strongest attempt to dilute the United Methodist Church’s current stance that homosexual practice is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The church prohibits same-sex unions and precludes actively homosexual clergy, expecting all clergy to be celibate if single and monogamous if in a marriage between man and woman. Legislative committees last week recommended retaining these current stances.

via United Methodists Reject Agree to Disagree Motion on Homosexuality « Juicy Ecumenism.

Such a statement is silly, I think. I know that this is going to get my liberal friends fired up, but honestly, all you are doing is actually causing the split with the agree to disagree statements. The UMC is an episcopal-style church. You shouldn’t have one group going that way and another that way. That didn’t even work for the Baptists.

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Question of the Day: Reason and Passion – A Dividing Line?

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]] writes,

Too often the challenge for mainline pastors, and one of the reasons churches began to be cautious about an educated clergy, is allowing our education to diminish our passion. When you focus on the intellect, and you devote yourself to study, there is a tendency to become a bit more broadminded, but often this comes at the expense of conviction and passion. It is important that we not let this happen. We cannot afford to have a “reasonless” Christianity, but neither can we afford a passionless one. (p53)

In a chapter in which he discusses Pentecostalism, and tries to make the case that Christians shouldn’t separate too easily the line of reason and passion.I am not sure that the loss of passion is always the reason that congregants tend to shy away from an educated clergy, however. For many, I suspect it is because those educated clergy tend to stomp upon the personal piety of the church goers…

In our discussion group, we spoke about speaking in tongues, being ‘slain in the spirit’, and feeling the presence of God. I might have lost all credibility of reason when I spoke to these things from a personal experience. While I do tend to favor the intellect, and would prefer to be reasonable, there are experiences that I cherish and continue to participate in.

I don’t let them get out of hand, and I don’t really share them with anyone, so whatever you do, don’t tell a soul.

But the question is, is how do we acknowledge the passion and personal experiences will maintaining Reason? Or, inject Intellect into the passionate?

By the way, Wesley was considered a “Reasonable Enthusiast“.

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Question of the Day: Listening

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We are moving along with the this book, sometimes spending two weeks on a chapter. This week, the chapter was about listening to one another.

Adam Hamilton writes,

One of the reasons for today’s culture wars is the unwillingness of people on either the left or the right to listen to those with whom they disagree. They are quick to speak, and quick to anger, but slow to listen. (p43)

What do you think?

The GOP won control of the House on Tuesday. Fine. But the Democrats control the Senate and the White House, and yet…. Boehner and Mitchell are both demanding that the President bow to them like, pardon my vulgarity, the boy that he is. There will be no compromise, no listening, nothing. No matter that over half of this country didn’t participate in the vote, or that the majority of them are still Democrat. There is simply no compromise.

No listening. Nothing.

Do you think that we can learn, especially in a democratic republic, from listening to one another, and working with one another? Can we? Should we?

And, to what point is compromise a viable option? Not just in politics and the culture wars, but so too in our congregations and theological squabbles…

Do we ever seek to understand one another, to compromise where we can?

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Question of the Day: Is your God too small?

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In 1952, ]] wrote a brief book whose content is helpful, but whose title alone led me to buy it: ]]….. I fear that today the Christian church …. is often guilty of worshiping a small God whose mystery we think we’ve nailed down in our black-and-white theology such that we can proclaim that only our church or denomination fully understands the mind and will of God.

That was the quote which stuck out to me at yesterday’s discussion group. I think that the author is correct – we seem to limit God to our interpretations, and once we see that they are wrong, we sometimes are led into blaming God, or accusing God of being wrong.

Is your God one which fits neatly into your theological interpretations? Do you know everything about Him? Are you the only one right, doctrinally speaking?

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