"I was thinking..."
I was thinking…Pastor Steve
“If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages
and scoffs, and there is no peace.”
Proverbs 29: 9 (NIV)
I was thinking about the various topics I could write about this month - Valentine's Day (14th), President's Day (17th), Mardi Gras (25th), and Ash Wednesday (26th). Some of these, and others, are important to remember and some are just a time to celebrate one another. And then I thought, "Maybe I should weigh in on what our denomination is going through." So, sorry if you were looking for an interesting history lesson on Ash Wednesday or a romantic moment I've had in celebrating Valentine's Day. Maybe at the end, we'll see.
This verse above reminds me of our current situation with our denomination. Similar to going to court, the delegates that are elected, to represent the members and clergy of the denomination, go to the General Conference every four years and make decisions about our Book of Discipline. They have continually declared that human sexuality has been settled by God and our organization will adhere to traditional standards that are Scriptural and been observed for centuries. Unfortunately, those who are on the Progressive side have, especially since last year, decided they were above any standards and practices set forth in our polity and said they will do as they please until we come over to their side. Folks, you can't run a railroad like that, and you most certainly can't govern a denomination with groups going completely opposite of said policy. One big problem is that no one is able to hold anyone accountable. The Bishops aren't doing it; the Judicial Councils aren't doing it. And the people in the pews and the pulpits can't do it. That means the disrupters are basically running the show.
If you talk to anyone who has ever run a business or worked for a company, each will tell you that there are guidelines and expectations to be followed if there is to be any type of management. If not, there is chaos. If I am supposed to pack boxes and I decide that I'm going to just drive the tow motor, then the boxes are left empty. Someone has to step up and correct my insubordination; and if I continue to ignore my superiors, then I will have to go look for employment elsewhere. This is where we are today, except no one is telling the unruly to look for other work. As this continues, the company declines and, eventually, will have no impact in the community.
For us, as Methodists, we have gone to court with "fools" and come to the realization that the judge is also a fool. There are only two choices: 1) Stay with the status quo until everyone accepts any type of "new" sexuality that will be welcomed and lifted up or 2) Separate from an entity that continues to degrade Scripture and get on track to living into the Kingdom of reaching people for Christ (without the headaches of being associated with a liberal philosophy).
Maybe it's easy for me. My family roots don't run that deep in the Methodist denomination. I was originally an EUB, so my membership got changed without a vote from me. I have also attended a Vineyard and non-denominational churches. So, the name isn't as much a symbol for me as it might be for others. I get it. We will all have to come to grips on the side we will associate with in the coming months.
I truly believe that the Progressive side has been very disrespectful, hateful, and un-Christian many times over this issue. This also reminds me of verse 11 of the same chapter: "Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end." Stay calm and cool, and be in prayer. God is still on His throne, and we are held in the grip of His hand. God bless and have a great Valentine's and President's Day.